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Maṇipūra

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Maṇipūra

Manipura, the solar plexus chakra, is located just below the sternum. Manipura means “diamond,” or “city of precious stone.” The pancreas, liver, and spleen are also associated here. The traditional color of this chakra is red. An alternative color is a gold? Its symbol is tejas, the red fire triangle. Ths chakra is the center of metabolic energy, enthusiasm, ego, identity, and the personal will for power and control. Its foundation is the individual’s personal being or essence. (Anyone who has ever experienced the sensation of having a “knot in the stomach when anxious or tense will appreciate the importance of the solar plexus center. Continuous stress at this center may cause a number of gastro-intestinal disorders.)

Location: Solar plexus

Element: Fire

Color: Yellow

Issues: Self-esteem, ego, feelings of autonomy

Areas of Body: Stomach, liver, small intestine

Balanced: Healthy social roles

Excessively open: Aggression in a bullying way

Blocked: Selfless behavior motivated by personal worthlessness

Archetype: Hero

Negative Archetype: Servant or slave

Demon: Shame

Psychology of Kundalini Yoga [2]

Now this third center, the center of emotions, is localized in the plexus Solaris, or the center of the abdomen. I have told you that my first discovery about the Kundalini yoga was that these chakras really are concerned with what are called psychical localizations. This center then would be the first psychical localization that is within our conscious psychical experience. I must refer again to the story of my friend, the Pueblo chief, who thought that all Americans were crazy because they were convinced that they thought in the head. He said: “But we think in the heart.” That is Anahata.  Then there are primitive tribes who have their psychical localization in the abdomen. And that is true of us as well; there is a certain category of psychical events that take place in the stomach. Therefore one says, “Something weighs on my stomach.” And if one is very angry, one gets jaundice; if one is afraid, one has diarrhea; or if in a particularly obstinate mood, one is constipated. You see, that shows what psychical localization means.

Thinking in the abdomen means that there was once a time when consciousness was so dim that people noticed only the things that disturbed their intestinal functions, and everything else simply passed by the board; it did not exist because it had no effect upon them. There are still traces of that among the central Australian aborigines, who have the funniest ceremonies in order to make them realize a thing. I told you about the ceremony of making a man angry; and one sees other forms of the same thing in all primitive tribes. Before they can make up their minds to go hunting, for instance, there must be a whole ceremonial by which they are put into the mood of hunting; otherwise, they don’t do it. They must be excited by something. It has to do not only with the intestines, then, but with the whole body.

Now, as I said, the first psychical localization that is conscious to us is the abdomen; we are not conscious of anything deeper. I don’t know of a trace in primitive psychology where people would locate their psyche in their bladder. Then the next is the heart, which is a very definite cen- ter that still functions with us. For instance, we say, “You know it in the head, but you don’t know it in the heart.” There is an extraordinary distance from the head to the heart, a distance of ten, twenty, thirty years, or a whole lifetime. For you can know something in the head for forty years and it may never have touched the heart. But only when you have realized it in the heart do you begin to take notice of it. And from the heart it is an equally long distance down to the plexus Solaris, and then you are caught. For there you have no freedom at all. There is no air substance: you are just bones and blood and muscles; you are in the intestines; you are functioning there like a worm with no head. But in the heart, you are on the surface. The diaphragm would be about the surface of the earth. As long as you are in Manipura you are in the terrible heat of the center of the earth, as it were. There is only the fire of passion, of wishes, of illusions. It is the fire of which Buddha speaks in his sermon in Benares where he says, The whole world is in flames, your ears, your eyes, everywhere you pour out the fire of desire, and that is the fire of illusion because you desire things which are futile. Yet there is the great treasure of the released emotional energy.

So when people become acquainted with the unconscious they often get into an extraordinary state—they flare up, they explode, old buried emotions come up, they begin to weep about things which happened forty years ago. That simply means that they were prematurely detached from that stage of life; they have forgotten that there are buried fires still burning.

Now, in Manipura you have reached an upper layer where there comes a definite change. The bodily localization of this chakra under the diaphragm is the symbol for the peculiar change that now takes place. Above the diaphragm, you come into Anahata, the heart or air center because the heart is embedded in the lungs and the whole activity of the heart is closely associated with the lungs. One must be naive to understand these things. In primitive experience, it is the same thing. In fact, it is a physiological truth.

Speaking of this alchemistic aspect of the chakras, I want to call your attention to the symbol of Manipura, the fire center. You remember, perhaps, that in the fire center there are those peculiar handles, one could call them, which Professor Hauer hypothetically explained as parts of the swastika. Now, I must confess that I never have seen a swastika symbol that had only three feet. There is the Greek form of the triskeles, but I don’t know whether that existed in India. It was found on Greek coins in Sicily, from a period between four hundred and about two hundred B.C.—when Sicily belonged to Graecia Magna and was a large and flourishing Greek colony. The triskelos is like this: the three-legged being. But the swastika is like this: running on four feet. So I suggest that these might be handles attached to the triangle of Manipura. I rather think that they are handles of a pot—to lift the pot—and there is a lid on top which has also a handle. I think that is probably to be explained from the alchemistic aspect, because Manipura is the fire region, and that is the kitchen, or the stomach, where the food is cooked. One stuffs the food into the pot, or into the belly, and there it is heated by the blood. In that way food is prepared so that one can digest it.

Cooking is an anticipation of digestion, a sort of predigestion. And so the whole art of cooking is predigestion. We have transferred part of our digestive ability into the kitchen, so the kitchen is the stomach of every house, and the labor of preparing the food is then taken away from our stomachs. Our mouth is also a predigestive organ, because saliva contains a digestive substance. The mechanical action of the teeth is predigestive, because we cut up the food, which is what we also do in the kitchen in cutting up the vegetables, and so on. So you could really say that the kitchen is a digestive tract projected from the human body. And it is the alchemistic place where things are transformed.

Therefore Manipura would be a center in which substances are digested, transformed. The next thing one would expect would be the transformation shown as completed. As a matter of fact, this center is right below the diaphragm, which marks the dividing line between Anahata and the centers of the abdomen.

For after Manipura follows Anahata, in which entirely new things occur; a new element is there, air, no longer gross matter. Even fire is understood to be in a way gross matter. It is thicker, denser than air, and it is quite visible, whereas air is invisible. Fire is exceedingly movable, yet perfectly well defined, and also in a way tangible, whereas air is exceedingly light and almost intangible—unless you feel it as a wind. It is relatively gentle in comparison with fire, which moves and burns.


References

 

[1]. Charles Webster Leadbeater, Annotations by Kurt Leland, The Chakras, (Wheaton, Ill: The Theosophical Publishing House, 2013), p. 1- 5

[2]. Carl Jung, The Psychology of Kundalini; Lectures on Kundalini.

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