MULADHARA (Earth element)


There is an immediately evident and more than coincidental likeness of Gafurius’s serpent descending through a graded universe to the Indian idea of a yogic “serpent channel” descending from the crown of the head, down the spinal column to a “lotus center” located between the anus and the genitalia that is known as “Root Support” (muladhara), where the spiritual energy (sakti) of the unawakened individual sleeps, coiled on itself like a dormant snake (Sanskrit kundalini, “coiled serpent”), which is to be aroused through yoga and brought, uncoiling, up the spinal channel to a radiant lotus at the crown of the head called “Thousand Petaled” (sahasrara). 

At this point the serpent is like a dragon.  We all know the character of dragons – at least, Western dragons: they live in caves, and they have a gold hoard in the cave, and they have a beautiful girl whom they have captured in the cave.  They can’t do anything with either treasure or maiden, but they simply want to hold on.  Dragons, like people whose lives are centered around the first cakra, are based around gripping, holding on to power, holding on to a life that is no life at all because there is no animation in it, no joy in it, no vitality in it, but just grim, dogged existence.  The nature of the kundalini at muladhara is that of Ebenezer Scrooge before he undergoes that grand journey and transformation at the hands of the three ghosts (…)  MoL 30

Take the Muladhara cakra, which seems very simple.  Its psychological location is in the perineum.  You assume you know all about it, but psychologically what is Muladhara?  You think of it as that region down below in the abdomen, having to do with sexuality and all sorts of unsavoury things.  But that is not Muladhara; muladhara is something quite different. 

You will probably be puzzled when I tell you my conception of Muladhara.  You see, muladhara is a whole world; each cakra (Hauer defined cakras as “symbols of the experience of life” (HS, 58) is a whole world.  Perhaps you remember the picture which I showed of a patient, where she was entangled in the roots of a tree, and then above she was stretching up toward the light.  Now, where was that woman when she was in the roots?  Answer: In Muladhara. 

(The) self is then asleep.  And in which stage is the self asleep and the ego conscious?  Here, of course, in this conscious world where we are all reasonable and respectable people, adapted individuals as one says.  Everything runs smoothly; we are going to have lunch, we are under certain obligations and cannot run away easily without getting neurotic; we have to look after our duties.  So we are all in the roots, we are upon our root support.  (“Root support” is the literal translation of Muladhara).  We are in the roots right in this world – when you buy your ticket from the streetcar conductor, … that is the reality as you touch it.  And then the self is asleep, which means that all things concerning the gods are asleep. 

If we assume that Muladhara, being the roots, is the earth upon which we stand, it necessarily must be our conscious world, because here we are, standing upon this earth, and here are the four corners of this earth.  We are in the earth mandala.  And whatever we say of muladhara is true of this world.  It is a place where mankind is a victim of impulses, instincts, unconsciousness, or participation mystique, where we are in a dark and unconscious place.  We are hapless victims of circumstances, our reason practically can do very little. 

Moreover, when we are in this three-dimensional space, talking sense and doing apparently meaningful things, we are nonindividual – we are just fish in the sea.

Some strange urge underneath forces (us) to do something which is not just the ordinary thing.  So we may assume that the place where the self, the psychological non-ego, is asleep is the most banal place in the world – a railway station, a theater, the family, the professional situation – there the gods are sleeping; there we are just reasonable, or as unreasonable, as unconscious animals.  And this is Muladhara.  If that is so, then the next cakra, svadhisthana, must be the unconscious, symbolized by the sea, and in the sea is a huge leviathan which threatens one with annihilation. 

(Muladhara) is characterized as being the sign of the earth; the square in the center is the earth, the elephant being the carrying power, the psychical energy or the libido.  Then the name muladhara, meaning the root support, also shows that we are in the region of the roots of our existence, which would be our personal bodily existence on this earth.  Another very important attribute is that the gods are asleep; the linga is a mere germ, and the Kundalini, the sleeping beauty, is the possibility of a world which has not yet come off.  So that indicates a condition in which man seems to be the only active power, and the gods, or the impersonal, non-ego powers, are inefficient – they are doing practically nothing.  And that is very much the situation of our modern European consciousness.  TPoKY23

If you look at the symbol of the muladhara in such a way, you understand the purpose of the yoga in the awakening of Kundalini.  It means to separate the gods from the world so that they become active, and with that one starts the other order of things.  From the standpoint of the gods this world is less than child’s play; it is a seed in the earth, a mere potentiality.  Our whole world of consciousness is only a seed of the future.  And when you succeed in the awakening of Kundalini, so that she begins to move out of her mere potentiality, you necessarily start a world which is a world of eternity, totally different from our world. 

For the convictions of the muladhara world are very necessary.  It is exceedingly important that you are rational, that you believe in the definiteness of our world, that this world is the culmination of history, the most desirable thing.  Such a conviction is absolutely vital.  Otherwise you remain detached from the muladhara – you never get there, you are never born, even.  There are plenty of people who are not yet born.  They seem to be all here, they walk about – but as a matter of fact, they are not yet born, because they are behind a glass wall, they are in the womb.  They are in the world only on parole and are soon to be returned to the pleroma where they started originally.  They have not formed a connection with this world; they are suspended in the air; they are neurotic, living the provisional life.  They say:  “I am now living on such-and such a condition.  If my parents behave according to my wishes, I stay.  But if it should happen that they do something I don’t like, I pop off.”  You see, that is the provisional life, a conditioned life, the life of somebody who is still connected by an umbilical cord as thick as a ship’s rope to the pleroma, the archetypal world of splendor. 

Cont’d … Now, it is most important that you should be born; you ought to come into this world – otherwise you cannot realize the self, and the purpose of this world has been missed.  Then you must simply be thrown back into the melting pot and be born again.

As we have seen … muladhara is the symbol of our present psychic situation, because we live entangled in earthly causalities.  It represents the entanglement and dependence of our conscious life as it actually is.  Muladhara is not just the outer world as we live in it; it is our total consciousness of all outer and inner personal experiences.  In our conscious life of every day we are like highly developed animals, tied down by our environment and entangled and conditioned by it. 

At this level the psyche is practically inert.  It is just hanging on to life, and my mental image for this is dragons, which, as we know from biology, guard things in caves.  The customs of the dragon have been studied for many millennia.  They guard things in caves – beautiful virgins, symbols of Cakra 2, the cakra of sexuality; and heaps of gold, Cakra 3, possession and winning.  They don’t know what to do with either, but they simply guard.  This is the condition of the whole psyche when the energy is bound up in the muladhara, no zeal for life, no positive action, only reaction.  TMTT 144

   The psychology appropriate to this dull condition is that of behaviourism.  You don’t have an active psyche, only a reactive one.  Nietzsche calls this position that of groveling before sheer fact.  Actually, there’s no such thing as sheer fact; it’s the object for a subject. 

The attitude of the mind beholding the object is what changes the character and meaning of the fact.  People who hang on like this we call creeps.  They are exactly, you might say, the incarnation of the character of Cakra 1.  Art on this level is simply sentimental naturalism.  It has no breakthrough to the radiance. 

(The picture above with the elephant) is a representation of Cakra 1.  The rectangle is of the element earth, the grossest of the elements.  In the center is a red triangle, the yoni.  This is the womb, or the sex organ, of mother cosmos.  We are within her womb.  She is time-space, including a priori forms of sensibility and of the categories of knowledge.  It is within that womb that we are. 

   The lingam here, the male organ, represents the energy that breaks into that womb.  Now this is interesting and important:  the lingam represents the energy coming from the transcendent, coming into the womb, but the lingam is not antecedent to the womb, because there are no things; there are no pairs of opposites until you get within the womb.  So this is a manner of symbolization that’s proper to already being in time and space.  There is no pair of opposites in the transcendent.  It is neither male nor female.  When we talk about brahman being the still energy and maya the active energy, we are talking in dualistic terms again.  The transcendent is transcendent.  It transcends all thinking.  And so we can’t think about it.  As Heinrich Zimmer used to say, “The best things can’t be said.”  This is why.  TMTT 146