Let us continue exploring the significance of the Manipura chakra.
The Manipura chakra is described as a shining ten-petaled lotus. The petals are dark blue or black, like the color of dark rain clouds. Within the petals is a bright yellow circle in which lies an inverted triangle, signifying the fire element or Agni. The triangle pointing downwards suggests that we keep losing the fire in reaction, signifying the outward movement of sex energy. Through conscious effort, by transforming sensitiveness to sensitivity, we free ourselves of reaction and the triangle changes position to point upwards. The fire now rises up, signifying the transformation or change in direction of sex energy, resulting in a rise in consciousness.
Within the triangle is the bija mantra ‘Ram’ which is carried by the lord Vahni or that which conveys fire.
Outside the triangle are three swastikas which represent the Sun. The Manipura is situated in the solar plexus, which is ruled by the Sun and is the region for self-expression.
The swastika has four arms and is a symbol of the rotation of prana in the Earth. It follows the path of the Sun. In the northern hemisphere, it rises in the east, then seems to pass to the south and then sets in the west. In the southern hemisphere, it will rise in the east, seem to go to the north and set in the west.
The swastika also represents the rotation of energy at the north pole. It tames the unruly fire of the Manipura. The lord Vahni, the carrier of the bija, sits in the outer fire region, holding the gesture of granting boons or favors.
The mantra Ram stands for fire. It relates to the perception of form & sight and digestion. The ten petals sometimes look like a blue gas flame. That is, like a blue lotus. The petals represent the vibrations of the ten letters from Da to Pha. They represent the negative emotions that have to be transformed. Fam—spiritual ignorance, dam—treachery, dham—jealousy, nam—shame, tam—delusion, tham—disgust, dam—fear, dham—foolishness, nam—thirst, pam—thirst.
The lord Vahni is seated on a ram, a male sheep. The ram symbolizes leadership, action, initiative and determination. It stands for power and virility. By the use of the mantra Ram, we awaken the qualities of the ram. It gives us the power to deal with every situation in life. The mantra frees us from our weaknesses and makes our strengths more powerful. The most prominent feature of the ram are its horns which rest upon his head. It shows the power of the mental faculties and the brain.
The shakti of this chakra is called Lakini. She is the Devi with four arms and a body that radiates. She wears ornaments and is drunk with the nectar of life. She has the power to create and destroy. She is the Devi of speech and has a wealth of knowledge.
We have seen that all the shaktis are consciously created pauses or afferent impulses. They pause the negativities described in the five petals and awaken certain positive qualities, gifts and powers. Fire, being the element of the Manipura, brings the gift of purification. In the Svadhisthana, we saw the role of sex energy and the water element. As long as the triangle points down, sex energy flows out in reactions and negativity. But by pulling the water element up above the fire, the triangle changes direction. The sex energy, or water element, is then heated by the fire and rises upwards. As already described, the Devi now confers upon us beautiful speech and the power to create and satisfy our desires.
The right use of the shakti and mantras of the Manipura chakra reverse the direction of the fire. Presently, our energies move down or out. But by proper practice at the Manipura chakra, we use the fire to ignite the light of consciousness so we can wake up from the dream of identification. Once the fire moves upwards, we direct all our activities in life for a higher purpose.
In the Muladhara chakra, there is earth which pulls us down through gravitation and in the Svadhisthana chakra there is water whose natural flow is downward. But fire rises and by proper use of it, we transform the downward flow of earth and water to a rising one.
Fire is light and heat and thus, fire creates form. When light is obstructed, form is created. Thus, the Manipura chakra gives us the power to see and observe forms - both physical and subtle. But the Manipura also has the power to destroy form. Through conscious effort, we destroy our old structure or body of mechanical habits and build a new one.
Many people complain of laziness. They want to but cannot do the practices. But through the mantra and shakti with the use of fire, we overcome laziness and inertia.
We must self-examine our solar plexus frequently. If the area is tight, we are holding several blockages in that area. So also, if we have large pot bellies or sunken diaphragms. If we keep gaining weight, it can lead to an excessive obsession to control or the opposite, where we lack confidence. We must introspect in relation to fire. Do we feel cold all the time or are we always hot and sweating? Do we keep consuming cold or hot drinks? Do we crave chilies in our food? All this tells us whether the fire element is in excess, deficient or in balance. We must understand that for fire to burn properly, it needs air. And air is the element of the next chakra that we will study. So, if we are blocked here and our consciousness is not able to rise further, we cannot use fire properly.
Lastly, this is the area of power. But power does not mean having control over other people. We have a deeply embedded attitude that others - family, friends and acquaintances - should listen to us. This attitude can only be worked upon through long self-observation. Once we are free of this attitude, then we experience real power. Not to control others or to control money. But the power to be present in the present moment.