These next few weeks I’ll be writing about the chakras – probably one of the most important practical aspects of yoga theory to understand in terms of why the practice works and what you can expect out of it.
The root is the beginning.
The first chakra is called the â€œmuladharaâ€ which means the â€œroot support.â€ It is the foundation of the entire system. In the center of the chakra is a golden square, this is the shape and color of the solid factor, the first of the five elements that make up the universe. The solid factor â€“ that force which makes things solid – underlies the creation of the first cakra. The solid factor is often called the â€œearth.â€ And the first chakra is a place where we must solidly find our grounding in order to proceed further along on our journey. Resting upon that square is the sound, â€œLamâ€ the bija mantra of the first chakra. The four petals of the muladhara chakra represent the four purus-arthas or basic desires of life: kama, artha, dharma and moksa — physical desire, mental-emotional desire, the desire for things to be right in the world, and the desire for liberation. The first cakra is the residence of the kulakunalini, the coiled serpentine power. The Kundalini is asleep here until some event â€œawakensâ€ this energy. If the Kundalini is awakened through a physical or emotional trauma, the person may suffer confusion and even psychosis and so this is generally not considered a safe way to wake up the serpent power. However, when this energy is called up through initiation into the tantric path, the practitioner can begin the process of self-awakening and self-realization.
The Kundalini is also called â€œShaktiâ€ or the creative power of the universe. Shakti is also mythologically considered to be the wife of Shiva, the great god, and philosophically, the unqualified consciousness. Shakti desires union with Shiva, who resides in the seventh cakra at the crown of the head. The attempt to bring Shakti to Shiva is the path of the tantric yogi and it is the journey through the cakras.
The diety that presides over this cakra is the baby Brahma. Brahma here being the creator of the universe and also interchangeable with Shiva. The baby Brahma represents the potential and possibility of human life. He is the hope for the future, individually and collectively.
Everything that we can and do long for is within the muladhara. In fact, every desire of the entire universe is latent in this cakra. The muladhara cakra is the place of desire and potential â€“ of what the individual wants in this life, of what is possible to attain. It is the place from which we embark on the subtle journey. However balance in this cakra requires that we accept that the journey may eventually reveal that what we truly want is different from what we originally thought.