As we have seen, the first chakra Muladhara depicts that we are rooted in life. But life is universal, it has no individuality. In the second chakra, Svadhisthana, the individual self-expresses itself.
Sva means the self and sthanam means abode or place. The Svadhisthana is the abode of the self. It is here that the individual soul finds expression.
The Svadhisthana chakra lies 3cm above the muladhara chakra. Its physical location can be traced between the coccyx and the sacrum and is most likely seated in the hypogastric plexus.
The Svadhisthana chakra rules our emotions, creativity and purity. The positive qualities of this chakra bring joy, faith and energy to our lives.
Svadhisthana is associated with the water element, which implies a flow. Water is also associated with emotions. Just as water quenches thirst, emotions nourish our soul and quench our thirst to expand into someone else.
The element associated with the first chakra Muladhara was the prithvi tattva. The happiness of birth. This now dissolves in the Svadhisthana into water, expanding and mingling in relationships.
The Svadhisthana chakra’s sense is taste (Rasa) and its organ of action is the tongue.
We’ve seen that the gland connected to the Muladhara is the anus. The glands of the Svadhisthana are the sex glands, the gonads. The testes in men and the ovaries in women. (Notably, the prostate in the male is governed by both the Muladhara and Svadhisthana chakras.)
For both men and women, the gonads bring emotional stability and help build a healthy personality. However, in a sexually suppressed person, the positive qualities of this chakra are also suppressed. It brings obstinacy or inflexibility, stiffening and sexual perversion. The Svadhisthana is a very sensitive chakra and immediately loses its balance in the face of stress or sexual abuse.
The vital breath or impulse in the Svadhisthana is the prana vayu or the afferent impulse.
In the Muladhara, nature is supreme and so we have the apana impulse moving in the direction of in-to-out. Nature feeds on man’s negative emotions which are all apana impulses. When man’s individuality begins to find expression via the Svadhisthana, he feels the need to rise above nature and this is the prana impulse which brings a pause to the apana impulse.
However, in the mechanical man, the prana impulse can be very destructive and can destroy the balance in nature. It is through the wrong functioning of this impulse that man has been raping nature for the past two hundred years. But when the prana impulse is created consciously, it gives rise to creativity. Man rises above nature by aligning and harmonizing himself to her.
A theory about the kundalini states that in the previous yugas, the kundalini resided in the second chakra, the Svadhisthana. But in the Kali Yuga, the kundalini has fallen into the deep unconscious and that is why it is in the Muladhara chakra. This is evidenced in how humanity has become more aggressive, more animal-like and negative emotions have become more powerful.
Health issues associated with the Svadhisthana chakra all involve the reproductive and urinary systems. They include sexual dysfunctions, lower back pain, sciatica, joint pain, loss of sensual pleasure, all the ‘itis’ like arthritis, etc.
The Svadhisthana is the significator or ‘karaka’ of all healthy and unhealthy relationships. The chakra’s positive functioning is expressed in a healthy and understanding relationship, while the negative expression is emotional reaction and emotional attachment.
Our identity is based on how we think the opposite sex sees us. This is manifested by the negative side of the Svadhisthana chakra, stimulating jealousy, envy, rage, prejudices, resentment, self-denial, fear of change, lack of social skills, lack of desire and no creativity.
The Svadhisthana chakra has wide extremes and can lead to excesses. Addiction to sex, romance, shopping, seductive manipulation, obsessive attachment are some examples.
A balanced Svadhisthana chakra brings joy in relationship and friends, satisfaction, compassion, sexual expression, and a feeling of oneness with others.
This second chakra has six petals, which stand for the sounds of the six letters vibrating in the chakra. They give the impression of petals or spokes and represent the six vrittis to be overcome. The letters and corresponding vrittis are बं baṃ — indulgence, भं bhaṃ — absence of empathy, मं maṃ — destructiveness or possessiveness, यं yaṃ — delusion, रं raṃ — disdain (avaganna) and लं laṃ — suspicion.
Subsequently, the removal of these vrittis gifts us with the six positive modes of consciousness — the balance between enjoyment and indulgence, right affection free from attachment, a sense of creativity in all the small acts of life, adaptability in thinking, the art of external considering and interest without involvement, freedom from jealousy, suspicion, envy and the rise of conscience. This whole process is brought about by long and sincere self-observation.
The Svadhisthana chakra is depicted by the yantra or representative symbol of a silver crescent (Ardha Chandra Akar). It symbolizes the first sighting of the waxing moon, which the Hindus consider very auspicious. The white background in the symbol represents the water element. (There is a strong relationship between water and the Moon). The color is sinddur or vermillion. And when the Svadhisthana chakra transforms, the color changes to silver.
Just as the Moon has phases of waxing and waning, so do our emotions. We love someone but if that person talks badly about us, we hate the same person. All our emotions swing in the law of the pendulum. When we awaken the Shakti of this chakra, we are able to rise above our swinging emotions and observe them impartially.
Left nostril breathing or Chandra Nadi balances the Svadhisthana chakra. And when we do the Chandrabhedan Pranayam i.e. alternate nostril breathing to the Three Step Breathing (3SRB) rhythm, we are calming the moon (rhythm). The moon is the karaka or significator of aushadhi (healing herbs and medicine), the sun of life. So, it is a very potent healing energy. With the Chandrabhedan Pranayam, we free ourselves from the extremes, the phases and moods of the emotions.
Left nostril breathing stimulates the right brain which takes us beyond words and logic into intuition, higher emotion and creativity. We increase our creativity and also the satisfaction we get from it, whether it is playing or listening to music, gardening, social work, charity and being of service, enjoying a marriage, friendship, and parenting.
The Svadhisthana chakra is symbolized by the crocodile. The crocodile lies submerged with its head partially above water. It represents those desires, passions and emotions that lie between the conscious mind and subconscious mind. As we observe our own lust, greed and other passions, the crocodile is slowly transformed. We are then gifted with its positive qualities of courage, strength, patience, speed and power. The crocodile lives in two domains - the earth and water - and this awakens our power to work on these two elements. Moreover, the crocodile’s eyes are located on top of the head, signifying the gift of clairvoyance and foresight. The gift to see beings and angels who do not have a physical form.
In the next article, we will delve into the Shakti of the Svadhisthana chakra.