Muladhara Chakra

The header image for this article is a photograph taken by Johannes Plenio as found on Pexels.

Muladhara Chakra

Root Chakra

The purpose of this piece of work on the muladhara chakra is simply to clarify for my own reference notes that I have taken over the years from two primary sources, Kundalini Tantra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati and Kundalini Yoga for the West by Swami Sivananda Radha. These works have slight differences in their interpretations of various aspects and workings of the chakras, therefore in these notes both interpretations are sometimes listed.

These notes below are taken from the book Kundalini Tantra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Muladhara is the root, the foundation of the whole chakra system, and its influence is at the root of the whole of our existence. Impulses rise through the body from muladhara and find the widest expansion of our awareness when in sahasrara, the crown chakra. Muladhara is understood as moola prakriti, the transcendental basis of physical nature which is the original source of all evolution. In tantra the muladhara is the seat of kundalini shakti, the basis from which the possibility of higher realization arises. Kundalini lies dormant as a coiled serpent. Once awakened it makes its way through the sushumna nadi in the spinal cord until it reaches sahasrara in the crown of the head, the place where the experience of enlightenment occurs. The sushumna nadi is known as the central channel.

The seat of muladhara is slightly inside the perineum, for the male between the scrotum and anus, for the female on the posterior side of the cervix. In both male and female bodies there is a vestigial gland at the muladhara chakra, the perinea, like a knot, and it is called the brahma granthi, the knot of Brahma. If this knot is intact the energy here is blocked, but the moment the knot is opened shakti awakens; it is only when the individual awakens to the possibility of divine consciousness that the knot loosens. This tiny gland contains infinite energy and many psychic and spiritual experiences originate from muladhara.

Its representation is a lotus flower with four deep crimson petals, on each petal is a Sanskrit letter written in gold – vam, sham, sham, sam. In the pericarp is a yellow square representing the earth element, surrounded by eight golden spears, four at each centre and four at the cardinal points. The golden yellow square, yantra of earth element, is supported by an elephant with seven trunks. The attributes of muladhara are of a great dormant power resting in a completely stable, solid place. On the back of the elephant in the centre of the square is a deep red inverted triangle, symbol of shakti or creative energy responsible for productivity and multiplicity of all things. Within the triangle is the swayambhu or dhumra linga, smoky grey in colour, representing the astral body and around the lingam, kundalini is coiled three and a half times with the lustre of lightning. The number three represents the three gunassattva, rajas, tamas – of each individual. As long as these three gunas are operating the individuality is operating within the confines of ego. The half represents transcendence. In tantra the serpent is known as mahakala, meaning great or endless time, here kundalini is lying within the womb of the unconscious, beyond time and space. When it begins to manifest it enters the dimensions of personality and individuality, it becomes subject to time and space. Awakened it represents spiritual potential, unawakened it represents the instinctive level of life which supports basic existence.

On top of the inverted triangle is the beeja (seed) mantra lam, inside the bindu over the mantra reside the elephant deva Ganesha and the devi Dakini, who has four arms and brilliant red eyes.

The tanmatra, the sense of muladhara, is that of smell and it is from here that psychic smell manifests.

The jnanendriya, the sensory organ of muladhara, is the nose.

The karmendriya, organ of activity, is the anus.

Muladhara is the direct switch for the awakening of the ajna chakra.

It belongs to the bhuloka, the first plane of mortal existence, it is the chief centre of apana, the vital energy of the lower body. It is also the seat of the annamaya kosha, the body of nourishment, which is connected with the absorption of food and the evacuation of faeces.


Depiction of the Muladhara Chakra.

Note: For a fully detailed depiction of Muladhara please refer to one of the books listed as sources for these notes.

These notes below are taken from the book Kundalini Yoga for the West by Swami Sivananda Radha

Muladhara is the first chakra.

Its 56 rays relate to the earth.

Ghanda / Smell – muladhara controls this sense. The undeveloped human is sensual, directed to food by smell, also smell causes sexual excitement. If the path of kundalini yoga is followed correctly however, the sense of smell can become so refined that there might be the perception of a divine presence by way of the smell of roses, violets or sandalwood.

The four lotus petals represent the four corners of the world. The lotus is sacred in the Orient. In many depictions of Lord Krishna, Shiva or Buddha they are seated on a lotus with upturned leaves to indicate their holiness. Similarly if they are depicted in a standing position, water with a floating lotus is usually shown.

The colour of the petals of the muladhara lotus is the red of blood, life itself. Life has to be accepted and rightly lived. All forms of life of manifestations of the one power, reverence for all life is necessary in order to practice ahimsa (non-injury).

Letters on the petals of the lotus indicate the spoken word has power and can be expressed positively or negatively, the responsibility rests with the individual.

The circle of muladhara represents completeness or perfection.

The yantra (mystical diagram) of muladhara is square, symbol of the earth. Muladhara is the foundation for all the other chakras, care is needed in order for the foundation to support the structure.

The arrows shooting out of the yantra represent different directions. Goals can be missed by running in too many directions, the five senses can push or manipulate, the body can make demands, the power of the mind can exert its influence.

Yoni / Triangle is the symbol for the female sex. Sex is a significant force. In this chakra the triangle points down which indicates power comes from above which means the power to create new life is not associated with the ego. The energy manifested in the life of a human is the responsibility of each individual. It is neutral and the choice of the individual as to how it is used. Dissipation of energy is irresponsible.

The Swayambhu / Linga is the symbol of the male sex and what is written above applies here also.

Citkala / Cresent Moon is the symbol for the divine source of all energy.

Three and a half coils where the three coils are sattva (purity), rajas (activity) and tamas (inertia & darkness) and the half the interplay of these three.

Airavata / Elephant of Indra where the seven trunks stand for the seven most powerful negative characteristics and also the seven most powerful positive ones.

Sabda / Speech. In order to hear we have to be silent, speech in the mind must stop. In moments of silence true sabda is heard like the humming of a bee.

Beeja  РLam, the seed sound. Mantras lead the spirit, lost in thoughts and worldly pursuits, back to the essence. Sound is vibration, the experience of Lam the sound of muladhara is only slightly perceptible and it is heard through sincerity, dedication, humility & surrender.

PingalaNadi on the right side of the body, interpreted, roughly, as psychic nerve in the body. In hatha yoga ha is connected to pingala and it means hot, sun, activity.

Ida – Nadi on the left side of the body, interpreted, roughly, as psychic nerve in the body. In hatha yoga tha is connected with ida, suggestive of coolness, receptivity and the moon.

The control of all pairs of opposites in the individual has to be balanced before one attempts to raise the kundalini. Ida and pingala are channels for prana, energy.

Sushumna – Seat of Om, the passage through which kundalini arises and which connects all the chakras.

The deva (god) in muladhara is the child Brahma. Note: in Kundalini Tantra the deva is listed as the elephant deva Ganesha . The child Brahma is the male aspect of energy unmanifest; with five faces, five dimensions, including omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence. In every human there is the Self, the divine spark, and the difference between human beings is in the degree of awareness of that potential, in the degree of awareness that it can be developed.

In the hands of the four arms of Brahma are the following objects with symbolism.

Danda / Staff Р Symbolic of the spine supporting the body. Levels of consciousness are in the spine where the life force is dominant and the base of the spine is where the kundalini energy is located.

Kamandalu / Gourd – Container for liquid. The yogi keeps the kamandalu close so as to maintain a proper liquid level in the body.

Rudraksamala / Rosary – The purpose of mantra recitation is to control the constant conversations that go on in the mind.

Abhayamudra / Gesture – Dispelling fear, which will happen when there is sincerity, right intent, humility.

The devi (goddess) in muladhara is Dakini, the female aspect of energy unmanifest. Intelligence on this level is symbolized by Dakini.

In the hands of the four arms of Dakini are the following objects with symbolism.

Sula / Spear – With skill the spear will hit the target. The aspirant has to ask the question – “What is the target in my life? Do I live by awareness or, like an animal, by instinct?”

Khatvanga / Staff with skull on top – Symbol of empty mind that is free of preconceived ideas which block the way for new perceptions, particularly divine insight, that is, intuition through meditation. The skull is on a staff, the spine, the energy can then rise in sahasrara, the flow of energy through the staff or spine into the empty skull is an experience which shakes one’s whole foundation. If the divine nectar received in those indescribable moments falls into the fires of passions, sex and others, it steams off and is lost, as the aspirant might not recognize what has occurred.

Khadga / Sword – Symbolic of discrimination which helps develop good mind. It has to be applied right at the beginning of one’s path, at the outset of spiritual life. If mistakes are cut down quickly, emotional or mental pain is minimized and mechanical habits controlled. Life becomes enjoyable in a very positive and good sense.

Casaka / Drinking cup – When filled with wine, the wine is symbolic of the spirit and the aspirant may become intoxicated with drinking this spirit. One is urged to drink slowly and steadily so as to assimilate this divine nectar / ambrosia into intuitive thinking and feeling. When filled with water it symbolizes the water of life, one can consider quenching one’s thirst with this pure water of divine wisdom.


Depiction of the Muladhara Chakra.

Note: For a fully detailed depiction of Muladhara please refer to one of the books listed as sources for these notes.

These notes below are taken from the book Kundalini Tantra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati –

Muladhara is base from which the three main psychic channels, nadis, emerge and flow up the spinal cord. Once there is a state of balance between ida and pingala the awakening engendered in muladhara of kundalini becomes explosive and it rises with great force until it reaches sahasrara. It is the seat of tamas, darkness, and if it is not purified the corresponding centre in the brain will remain tamasic. When muladhara awakens you can experience levitation of the astral body, due to the energy of kundalini whose ascending momentum causes the astral body to disassociate from the physical and move upward. It differs from levitation, the displacement of the physical body, as it is limited to the astral, mental dimensions.

Muladhara is one of the most important, exciting chakras, but it is also one of the most disturbing psychic centres and for this reason the awakening of the ajna chakra should always accompany muladhara awakening. The mental faculties of ajna give the practitioner the ability to witness the events of muladhara awakening objectively. If ajna is awakened then muladhara is the easiest of the chakras to awaken.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s