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Manipura Chakra

Manipura Chakra

Manipura called "city of jewels", is the third primary chakra according to Hindu tradition.

Location

Manipura is located at the spine directly behind either the navel or the solar plexus, depending on the system, while its kshetram or superficial activation point is located directly on the navel (or solar plexus).

Appearance

Manipura is represented by a downward pointing red triangle, the fire region, within a bright yellow circle, with 10 dark-blue or black petals, like heavily laden rain clouds. The triangle has a t-shaped swastika on each of its sides. The fire region is represented by the god Vahni, who is shining red, with 4 arms, holding a rosary and a spear, and making the gestures of granting boons and dispelling fear. He is seated on a ram, the animal that represents this chakra.

Seed Mantra

The seed mantra is the syllable 'Ram'. Within the bindu or dot above this mantra resides the deity Rudra, who is red or white, with 3 eyes, of ancient aspect with a silver beard, and smeared with white ashes. He makes the gestures of granting boons and dispelling fear. He is either seated upon a tiger skin, or upon a bull. His Shakti is the goddess Lakini. She is black or dark-blue vermillion, with 3 faces with 3 eyes each, and four-armed, holding a thunderbolt, the arrow shot from the bow of Kama, fire, and making the gesture of granting boons and dispelling fear. She is seated upon a red lotus.

Petals

The ten petals are dark-blue or black, like heavily laden rainclouds, with the syllables dda, ddha, nna, ta, tha, da, dha, na, pa, and pha upon them in a dark-blue colour. They correspond to the vrittis of spiritual ignorance, thirst, jealousy, treachery, shame, fear, disgust, delusion, foolishness and sadness.

Function

Manipura is considered the centre of dynamism, energy, willpower and achievement (Itcha shakti.), which radiates prana throughout the entire human body. It is associated with the power of fire, and digestion. It is also associated with the sense of sight, and the action of movement. Manipura is "the center of etheric-psychic intuition: a vague or non-specific, sensual sense of knowing; a vague sense of size, shape, and intent of being."[1] As such, some psychics recommend "listening" to it since it may help in making better decisions in one's life on many different levels.[2]

Through meditating on Manipura, one is said to attain the siddhi, or occult power, to create, destroy or save the world.

Association with the body

The position of Manipura is stated as being either behind the navel or the solar plexus. Sometimes, when it is located at the navel, a secondary chakra called Surya (sun) chakra is located at the solar plexus, whose role is to absorb and assimilate prana from the sun. Being related to the sense of sight, it is associated with the eyes, and being associated with movement, it is associated with the feet. In the endocrine system, Manipura is said to be associated with the pancreas, and the outer adrenal glands; the adrenal cortex. These glands create important hormones involved in digestion, converting food into energy for the body, in the same way that Manipura radiates prana throughout the body.

Practices

In kundalini yoga, different practices for arousing and balancing the energies of Manipura include various asanas which work on that part of the body, pranayama, Uddiyana bandha (exhaling and pulling back and up of the abdomen and diaphragm respectively) and agnisara kriya (practicing jalandhara bandha, and moving the abdomen in and out), as well as the practice of Nauli (stomach churning), and a pranayama called the union of prana and apana, where the lower and higher winds are made to unite together.

Comparisons with other systems

In the Vajrayana Highest Tantra traditions, the navel wheel is extremely important as being the seat of the 'red drop'. It is triangular, red, with 64 petals or channels that extend upwards. Inside of it is the short syllable 'Ah'. Meditation on this syllable is the key component of the practice of Tummo, or inner heat, where the subtle winds are made to enter the central channel, and rise up to the top of the channel, in an experience akin to that of 'raising the kundalini' in Hindu terminology, melting the subtle white drop in the crown, and causing the experience of great bliss. This practice is considered the first and most important of the 6 yogas of Naropa.[3]

In Chinese qigong, there exists 3 Dantians, act as furnaces to convert different energies in the body. The lower Dantian exists in the region of the stomach. Its function is to convert sexual jing energy into Qi energy (a concept similar to Indian Prana).

Within the system of the Sufi Lataif-e-sitta, there are a number of Lataif on the torso, but they are not distributed vertically, like chakras, but have some to the left and some to the right. The nafs, or lower self, is a centre situated below the navel.

Western occultists make different kabbalistic associations with Manipura. For some, it relates to the sephira of Hod and Netzach, Netzach being that quality of energy to overcome different obstacles, and Hod being the tendency to control and break down energy into different forms, the two being contending and balancing forces, like the forces of anabolism and catabolism in the human body. Hod and Netzach are associated with the left and right legs and feet of the body.[4]

Alternative names

Tantra: Dashachchada, Dashadala Padma, Dashapatra, Dashapatrambuja, Manipura, Manipuraka, Nabhipadma, Nabhipankaja
Vedas (late Upanishads): Manipura, Manipuraka, Nabhi Chakra
Puranic: Manipura, Nabhi Chakra

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