Svā = Self
Adhishthāna = seat, residence
The Svādhishthāna Chakra lies about three centimetres above the Mūlādhāra Chakra between the coccyx and the sacrum. It marks the second stage of human evolvement. In earlier periods of evolvement the seat of the Kundalinī Shakti was located in this Chakra, but in Kali Yuga , our present age, spiritual energy has sunk down into the Mūlādhāra Chakra – into unconsciousness - because of the rampant materialism and egoistic behaviour of humans.
The colour of the Svādhishthāna Chakra is ORANGE, the colour of fire. This colour symbolises purification, activity, joy, hope and self-confidence, and shows that the energy of the Svādhishthāna Chakra has become active. Orange is also the colour of sunrise and is an indication of the strength that blossoms from this Chakra once it has been mastered – cheerfulness, faith, self-confidence and vigour. It is also the colour of autumn and sunset, when nature withdraws and consciousness turns inwards. When we look within and concentrate on the Svādhishthāna Chakra we are able to find the answers to many questions related to our destiny.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, the Mūlādhāra Chakra is the storeroom in which our experiences and Karmas lie. The activation of these Karmas now occurs in the Svādhishthāna Chakra, and it is here that we have the opportunity to purify them. Even though our weaknesses and mistakes are located in this Chakra, it is here that a valuable opportunity to develop our human consciousness to a higher level is offered. Through work on the Svādhishthāna Chakra we are able to bring our baser instincts under control, transform them and ultimately transcend them.
The level of consciousness of the Svādhishthāna Chakra is the SUBCONSCIOUS, the sphere of consciousness that lies between sleeping and waking. We have a vague idea of what is contained here, but no complete or clear knowledge. Even when our consciousness is centred, other levels of consciousness always influence our perceptions and actions. The field of our consciousness is like a screen upon which the entire spectrum of our experiences is portrayed.
The function of the subconscious is like that of a movie camera recording each impression that has an influence upon us, externally or internally, irrespective of whether we were conscious of it or not. In this way the subconscious records precisely everything that we experience, think, feel and do; and this explains why inevitably our Karmas react upon us, whether we want them to or not. We cannot prevent the consequences because the subtle tracks (Samskāras) of our actions have been imprinted upon our subconscious, and therefore the effects are “pre-programmed”.
This does not mean that we should just resign ourselves and simply allow things to take their course. It is important to understand that our future destiny is the result of our past and present deeds. Everything that is happening to us today was caused by our earlier actions and thoughts, and everything that happens to us in the future will be the result of our current way of thinking and acting.
We are not victims of our past, or the “puppets” of external forces, but rather we are creating our own destiny here and now. To be able to do this consciously it is important that we confront and evaluate our qualities and intentions honestly, and then direct them consciously towards the good. Once we gain clarity about what is being fed into our subconscious we are better able to understand our motives and actions and recognise the connection between action and reaction. In this way we are capable of foreseeing the consequences of our behaviour, and by altering our behaviour we can influence our future. We are then able to shape our future beneficially and support our own development.
Through the Self-Inquiry Meditation technique presented in the system “Yoga in Daily Life”, we are given a method of penetrating our subconscious “programming” and resolving any detrimental behaviour patterns with love, understanding and forgiveness. When we consciously send beautiful, positive and pure thoughts to the storeroom of our subconscious every day, our destiny will also change for the better – but we should not forget that the reverse also applies!
In the course of our life the Kundalinī occasionally awakens and rises to the Svādhishthāna Chakra. However, here it comes up against the barrier of our negative qualities such as envy, desire, jealousy, rage and greed. These block the energy so that it again returns to the Mūlādhāra Chakra. And in this way the consciousness of many people continues to oscillate between the two lowest Chakras without ever being able to rise higher.
To break this cycle is not an easy undertaking, as we face an army of innumerable detrimental emotions, prejudices, resentments and fears that have accumulated during the course of many lives. The only thing we achieve if we fight against them forcefully is that they will either persist even more stubbornly, or recede into the depths of the subconscious and hide. Only when we consciously let go are we able to free ourselves from them.
But letting go can be extremely difficult. We would, in fact, be very happy to be free of our fears and complexes, but somehow we do not dare let go of these qualities; instead we hold onto them firmly and nourish them. The ego leads us to believe that we would lose our identity and personality if we renounced them. And it is here in the Svādhishthāna Chakra that the ego fights with all possible means to retain its supremacy.
The yoga practitioner who has learnt to question and analyse everything that occurs within the consciousness, recognises the causes for the emotions and reflexes that surface from the subconscious and is therefore able to cope with them more easily. Otherwise it can happen that we fall helplessly from one emotion into another, and for a long time we are unable to find our way out of the “blind-alley” of the Svādhishthāna Chakra.
It is most important that we do not lie to ourselves or be afraid; and we should neither condemn ourselves nor project the blame onto others. Our inner world is divided – we have a “light” side and a “dark” side. It is only when we take this dual reality into consideration and also accept our weaknesses that we are able to work on it. Until we are able to accept ourselves we can perhaps give good advice to others, but cannot develop further ourselves.
When we can simply observe the waves of emotion and unwaveringly fix our mind on our Mantra, they will finally vanish. The Mantra clears and quietens the mind and will certainly lead us out of the maze of our emotions and tendencies, and into the light of truth.
ANGER, HATRED, GREED, JEALOUSY, VIOLENCE, CRUELTY, PASSION, ARROGANCE, SELF-DOUBT and LETHARGY are the enemies that we encounter in the Svādhishthāna Chakra; they make life for us and our environment very difficult. As we know from many examples in history, and also in recent times, people are often blinded by these qualities and commit inhumane actions. The purification of these tendencies needs lifelong vigilance and constant effort. Discipline and wisdom (Gyāna) are the “tools” with which we are able to keep them in check.
However, these tendencies will not be shed completely until the end of our life, because as a part of nature they serve to preserve our physical existence. Harmful effects only develop when they are connected to a selfish ego and deployed thoughtlessly for the pursuit of selfish goals. When we become conscious of these tendencies and understand their meaning and function we are able to control these “enemies”, transform their energy and utilise them for our development.
ANGER, HATE and GREED are negative expressions of our ego. The ego itself is not bad. Its positive aspect is the will to live. We cannot exist without the ego, because without the will to live and zest for life nobody can exist. The ego is only harmful when it degenerates into self-interest and exploitation of others.
In India anger is known as a twofold curse, as it not only “sucks the lifeblood of others but also our own.” When we are overcome by rage blood cells within our body are destroyed. This aggressive emotion darkens our entire Phänomen and deprives us of spiritual energy. Closely connected to the expression of anger are greed and hate. When one of these qualities becomes active the other two are also roused and jointly they ravage the “inner field” of that person. The immense power of this emotional arousal also has a positive potential. When we succeed in controlling this explosive energy we can transform it into constructive, courageous and brave actions. The mastery of anger also brings considerable progress in attaining discipline and control over other negative emotions.
We can cool down and extinguish outbursts of anger and hatred when we mentally put ourselves in the position of the person to whom our displeasure is directed, and try to understand their reasoning. What we are able to understand we can also more easily forgive. Through empathy, consideration and tolerance our hostile feelings will finally calm down.
JEALOUSY means that we are dependent upon a possession and think that something or someone belongs to us. We imagine that our whole world would collapse if we are unable to obtain what we have set our heart upon, or if we lost it. We behave like a small child who fights with other children over a toy, and even if he gets it he is not really content.
Problems always arise when we think egoistically and want to possess something completely and hold onto it tightly. When we feel flickers of jealousy stirring within us we should endeavour to be independent and generous, because inner freedom is the best antidote to combat this frame of mind.
Also we only feel jealous when we are in love. Without love there is no jealousy. Jealousy disappears when the feeling of love is pure, selfless, supportive and beneficial for others.
Many people suffer lifelong from the concept that they have not found “true” love; meaning a life partner who will balance out their personal deficits and fulfil their desires. However, what we actually need, and alone brings contentment and fulfils the desire of our soul, is true, divine love. And this consists simply of giving, merely giving. Once we overcome jealousy we gain freedom and develop our ability to give and to accept all-embracing love.
VIOLENCE and CRUELTY are found everywhere in nature, in humans as well as in animals. Their roots lie in the natural desire for self-preservation, in the instinctive desire to survive. Life is never totally free of violence; for example, when we drink a glass of water we destroy tiny microscopic beings. Even when we cut flowers we also do harm – because plants are also living things. In the ancient scriptures it is said that we should only take such nourishment as is given freely by nature from the various grains, seeds and ripe fruits. But nowadays if we waited for the fruit to fall naturally from the tree we would die of starvation. Therefore, unfortunately, we are unable to completely follow this rule, but should avoid any bad intention in thought word or deed in the taking of our food. Our vanity and our hedonism should not be the cause for the suffering or violent death of another living being.
We possess the gift of empathy; we are able to understand what causes suffering to others. Therefore we can also learn to avoid violence and cruelty. Our endeavours should be directed towards never depriving anyone of anything, never wilfully destroying anything, or intentionally or thoughtlessly causing pain to anyone.
By overcoming the cruelty within ourselves our capacity for love and collective responsibility increases. Renunciation of cruelty subsequently leads to selfless service becoming a reality.
In German the word for passion is LEIDENSCHAFT, translated literally as “suffering created”; which means “we ourselves create that from which we suffer”. The causes of this are material and physical desires (Bhoga Vāsanā). They blaze like red-hot flames within us and we try everything possible (and frequently exactly the wrong thing) to extinguish the tortuous source of this fire. Passion can completely blind and corrupt us. But in a positive sense passion is also a part of life. As part of the reproductive instinct it serves to preserve and protect partnerships and possessions. As enthusiasm it is an expression of the zest for life, vitality and creative energy. Outstanding and ingenious works originate from this passionate love for life. But in its egoistic and unscrupulous expression it has exactly the opposite effect and works destructively instead of creatively and protectively.
Passion is widespread within our society as fanaticism and addictive behaviour. Addiction in any shape is destructive and it has many faces. It is encountered as excessive eating or drinking, as a dependency upon nicotine, alcohol or drugs, and also as a craving for more money, possessions, sensory pleasures, power or fame. Fanaticism also occurs within many areas of life - as racism, nationalism, in cultural matters, in religion or in politics.
The positive expression of passion is the commitment to work which serves all living beings – for example, in conservation, charitable or humanitarian activities, as well as in the arts, research, education, sport, etc. In this way passion becomes an active, structured force and a strong motivating power in our spiritual development. In its positive expression passion reveals itself as idealism, enthusiasm and a strong will, and as such is very important for the whole of mankind, as well as for people such as scientists, researchers, volunteers, saints, etc.
In its positive aspect PRIDE is the feeling of self-worth and an expression of success. We feel an elated sense of satisfaction about our achievements and this spurs us on to greater endeavours. However, pride is unhealthy when it is not accompanied by generosity and gratitude, and instead leads to egocentricity, self-importance, arrogance and vanity. We should include others in our success and embrace them joyfully, rather than suppressing them or placing little value on them. Pride should not be blind; we should take particular care that we never hurt others. Positively, pride is always accompanied by humility that protects us from arrogance.
LETHARGY, laziness and a lack of commitment to anything are not only harmful but also make us discontented or grumpy and allow our talents to atrophy. But unwinding and relaxing after work are important and beneficial for our health. A period of relaxation should always follow tension. As with everything in life we need to discover a happy medium. One-sided development of any aspect of life is not beneficial to our progress.
Through DOUBT we make life difficult for ourselves. Doubt creates conflict. It divides the cohesiveness of confidence into the duality of certainty and uncertainty. But first and foremost self-doubt burdens our existence, and the inner conflict it creates weakens our will to achieve, and through this our uncertainty increases even more.
On the other hand doubt can also be very useful when it guides us in our critical analysis of MĀYĀ. Doubt is a function of the intellect (BUDDHI). God gave us the intellect to enable us to differentiate between right and wrong, and to make the correct decision. Dispelling doubt brings us certainty, peace and composure. With these qualities we become a pillar of society and can help others overcome their doubts. When we shed the inhibiting effects of doubt, the path towards clarity and a deep faith in divine guidance opens before us.
Many people think they are able to deal with their emotions by “expressing” them. Unfortunately this is a serious mistake because exactly the opposite will occur immediately. If we give way to the desires of the Svādhishthāna Chakra they intensify reciprocally and poison our inner Self.
If something or someone stands in our way and we allow our desires and passions free rein, the ego shows its “claws”. Rage builds up inside us. This draws out an even stronger weapon – hate - whose fire is further fanned by envy and resentment. And joining this pernicious gathering of forces as allies are greed and vindictiveness, which finally ignite the explosive charges of violence and cruelty. Daily we hear, see and read what terrible things have been caused throughout the world by feelings of bitter resentment, anger, jealousy and acts of violence. When we look at the scenes of devastation caused by us, self-doubt arises. We become conscious of what we have done but do not know what to do about it. Usually we react to this by “blocking out” the events, suppressing our feelings and pushing them down into the subconscious. All too often we stifle the tender stirrings of understanding and improvement by laziness and lethargy.
How we handle our tendencies and qualities is always crucial; whether we cultivate and use them positively or negatively; whether we use them egoistically and inconsiderately, merely for our own benefit; or whether we use them for others with love, understanding and sympathy.
When a country is at war communications and the postal services are the first to be disrupted. For as long as we are at war with ourselves, for as long as the “dark” qualities are in the majority and the ego rules the roost, and for as long as we are cut off from contact with the divine Self, we are unable to hear God’s call because we are too deeply caught up in our own inner dilemmas.
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.”
But in order to attain a state of peace and harmony we must first convert our negative energy, which expresses itself as desire, annoyance, quarrelsomeness, bitterness and resentment, into a constructive and creative mental attitude.
Peace is like a candle in our hands. To look upon our environment with the light of peace means to bring to the world a loving attitude, kindness, trust and understanding. Anger and jealousy make the heart close. In reality the entire Universe is within our heart. We should open our hearts and allow everyone to feel the love and warmth within.
The following experiment with the process of thinking is very illuminating. Try to think a friendly thought and a hostile thought at the same time; or to have a loving feeling and a hostile feeling at the same time. You will realise that fundamentally it is impossible to unite day and night – light and darkness cannot exist together. When the sun rises darkness vanishes immediately.
Through noble and good thoughts we illuminate our Phänomen and at the same time purify the Svādhishthāna Chakra. Prayer, Mantra and nurturing the good within us gradually lighten our dark side. We should fill our meditations with love, devotion, understanding and warmth for ourselves and for others, becoming like a sun that shines for all - for plants, animals and humans, so that they are able to take as much warmth as they need.
As previously said, the Svādhishthāna Chakra is the second milestone in our development. The decision to take this step is difficult for most people. When someone says, “The door is open, you can go through now”; but behind the rise there is a wild tiger lurking and the path is lined with thorny bushes and deceptive marshes filled with crocodiles, snakes and scorpions; and beyond all of these there is a seemingly endless ocean – most people would be quite happy to retreat and exclaim, “close the door again!”
This is how we can feel when we rise from the protective darkness of the unconscious and penetrate the sphere of consciousness in the Svādhishthāna Chakra. The tiger, snakes and scorpions are our own qualities – everything is within us. No-one threatens us from outside; what we are afraid of are shadows that we have given substance to. We ourselves stand as an obstacle on our own path, and it is only we, ourselves, who can clear the way for us to continue.
How can we free ourselves? When we let go and give freedom! To give freedom means to have freedom. To free the way for others, means to simultaneously free the way for ourselves.
Therefore, we should not be afraid, but rather be happy that our consciousness has reached the Svādhishthāna Chakra, because a time of new and interesting experiences now begins. Here the Kundalinī is young and impetuous, in “puberty”, and subsequent developments naturally present their own challenges. The ego becomes stronger and fights for its feelings and its right to exist. The more clarity we gain the stronger we become, but we also become more conscious of our weaknesses and problems. When we lie in bed asleep we do not notice the mess in our room, but when we wake up and look around we are horrified and exclaim, “How terrible it looks in here, I must tidy it up!” – and we do the necessary work.
The element of the Svādhishthāna Chakra is WATER. Water is very soft and yielding, and because of this it is especially difficult to bring it under control. As water is so difficult to contain, it is also difficult to counteract. Flowing water has an immense power. If a dam bursts the mass of water carves its own channel and nothing can stop it. Even if we firmly close the doors and windows the water will inevitably force its way into the house.
Water frozen into ice is hard and rigid; it only begins to flow when it becomes warmer and melts. In just the same way, the Kundalinī energy rests in the Mūlādhāra Chakra stiff and motionless, as if “frozen”, and only begins to flow when it reaches the higher vibrational level of the Svādhishthāna Chakra. When the energy begins to flow it is important to work in a controlled way by purifying our thoughts and qualities and steering them in a positive direction. Otherwise there is the danger that the mind can become unbalanced by an overflow of unprocessed and previously suppressed emotions. This can cause inner restlessness, insomnia, nervousness, aggression, melancholy and other psychic disturbances. Therefore we should not rush but go step-by-step as advised in the system “Yoga in Daily Life”.
The animal symbol of the Svādhishthāna Chakra is the CROCODILE. It represents the Karma lying dormant in the subconscious. The crocodile is lazy and lethargic, but once it becomes active it develops enormous power and speed and can be extremely dangerous. We also set all our powers into motion when we have a strong desire or longing for something. But once this is satisfied we again sink back into the earlier idleness.
Laziness is a trap of the Svādhishthāna Chakra into which it is very easy to step. When the trap is successful the toughest problems within the subconscious seem to dissolve, and we feel very pleasant in the state we have reached and think that there is no longer any need to progress further. And because of this the flow of energy falters and the consciousness withdraws again into the Mūlādhāra Chakra.
The Bija Mantra, the subtle vibration, of the Svādhishthāna Chakra is VĀM. Through concentration on the sound of this Mantra and its inner repetition we are able to awaken the energy of the Chakra, and also bring it back into balance when it has become the victim of impetuosity.
The divinities of the Svādhishthāna Chakra are BRAHMĀ and SARASVATĪ. Brahmā is the creator of the Universe and Sarasvatī personifies knowledge. In mythology she is both the daughter and the wife of Brahmā. Brahmā is also described as “the Golden Womb” or the “Cosmic Egg” (Hīranyagarbha) from which knowledge is born. Consciousness creates knowledge, and is at the same time shaped by it. Therefore, as the creator, Brahmā is the father of Sarasvatī – the father of knowledge; but when knowledge reacts upon creation and sets into motion its further development, Sarasvatī is Brahmā’s partner.
Often we are unable to relate to or understand the emotions that rise from the subconscious into consciousness. Their turbulent power together with our uncertainty about the reasons for, or our connection to, these emotions startles and confuses us. Nevertheless these stirrings should not be shoved to one side. The constant suppression and rejection of emotions and feelings can result in neuroses and other psychic disturbances, as well as in diseases related to the lower abdominal region. But is is exactly those feelings that we carefully hide or deny that will re-emerge at the first opportunity.
Many people advise giving our feelings and emotions free rein in order to gratify them and work them out so that they simply disappear. But this is not the right way either. When we give them room to move we strengthen them and give them power.
The way to free ourselves from undesirable feelings and thoughts is neither to suppress them nor allow them to run freely, but rather to remove them with wisdom.
Otherwise we could possibly miss a very valuable opportunity if we simply throw away the “rubbish bag of our dark side” without looking inside. For there could have been a piece of gold hidden inside.
In Kundalinī Yoga feelings and thoughts are never judged initially as being undesirable, inferior or bad. Rather each feeling is closely observed and analysed. In this way we learn how to handle our emotions, process them and finally transcend them. It is only in this way that the reciprocal process between Brahmā and Sarasvatī, consciousness and knowledge, takes place.
It is always important to remain aware that nothing negative, as such, exists.
It is the qualities that we have adopted that are bad, not us – and it is these we need to correct and change. The easiest and most successful way for us to do this, which can never be emphasised strongly enough, is through Bhakti and repeating Mantra.
Bhakti (love and devotion for God) and the repetition of Mantra are indispensable aids on our path of development. In a meditation without Bhakti the ego can often gain the upper hand, and it can also happen that the subconscious will go beyond our control. For those who are practising Kriya Yoga, Bhakti (for the form of God worshipped by you) and Mantra are of particular importance in supporting and protecting you during your practice. The Guru Mantra is the light that illuminates the darkness of ignorance within us.
There are two special “jewels” hidden in the Svādhishthāna Chakra that we are able to put to good use: ICCHĀ SHAKTI (willpower) and KRĪYA SHAKTI (vigour/drive).
ICCHĀ SHAKTI and KRIYĀ SHAKTI can be awakened and strengthened by Yoga practices. The following powerful energies help us to cultivate these:
- PRĀNA SHAKTI – life force, vital force
- DHĀRANĀ SHAKTI – power of concentration
- CHETANA SHAKTI – power of consciousness
When these three Shaktis combine we are able to turn all our ideas, intentions and wishes into reality. Even though they are purely mental powers, they originate in the body. The free flowing of the Nādīs and the activation of the nerve centres (Chakras) play a big part in this, and Prānāyāma and concentration (eg Trātaka ) are also helpful. Concentration strengthens the mind and Prānāyāma strengthens and purifies the Nervous System. Here, purification means to remove blockages and thus improve and ensure the flow of energy. Concentration acts like a magnet on our consciousness pulling it in one direction only. Through this it is possible to utilise and guide the Prāna Shakti at will. With this our physical and mental nourishment also become very important. Therefore we should foster positive thoughts and only eat wholesome and pure food – no meat, fish, eggs or alcohol, and naturally no drugs.
To control and consciously guide Prāna is a science, similar to higher Mathematics. This energy is like an instrument with whose help we can attain our goal. When the nerve centres have been purified the Chetana Shakti develops its full potential and enlightens our consciousness. Once we have awoken this power within us we should also put it to good use, aligning it with our willpower and actions towards the goal of Self-Realisation.
Everybody will one day pass through the Mūlādhāra and Svādhishthāna Chakras whether they want to or not, whether they do Yoga or not, whether they pray and meditate, or whether they are not concerned with spirituality. But knowledge about this stage of development, strong Icchā Shakti and Kriyā Shakti and a well-developed Āgyā Chakra will help us with this.
The Svādhishthāna Chakra is our daily training ground and a lifelong challenge. But with wisdom, God’s help and the guidance of the Master we are able to overcome all the difficulties that this Chakra has in store for us.
I pray for your success and may all your thoughts and feelings change for the better.