GV13 Swati

Transitioning from heart (anahata) to throat (vishuddha) chakra

Swati must be connected to the heart chakra if its god is Vayu, its consciousness ("deity").  Lord Vayu represents the element air that is connected to the anahata chakra in the six-pointed षट्कोण Satkona star - more specifically the Goloka Satkona.

Satkona (click on pic for link)
This is an anahata chakra area that probably relates to GV13 and the two "Radha" nakshatras GV14 and GV15 as well (Goloka).

The "seeds that are scattered in the wind" (pradhvamsa shakti) associated with Swati are likely a reference to the बीज bija seed syllables associated with Vayu:  "Within the air region of anahata chakra is the letter of pavana (air) pavana akshara:  yam or yang, the ai seed (bija) mantra," (Susan Shumsky, loc.1284 - see bibliography).  So Swati refers to the power of mantra, the utterance of vrittis-producing sounds that impact our inner and outer space when we speak them (and we use the throat chakra to do that).  Two root words for pradhvamsa could be प्राध्व prAdhva which means "being on a journey"/"long", and हंस haMsa, which is the natural mantra of the breath (which links it in particular with GV25, the last hamsa on the spiritual journey).  What is on a long journey?  It is the sound uttered through the vehicle of the breath that gets scattered in the wind (both gross "air" and in the form of prana, which the life force behind or in the gross air).

Sri Vasudeva teaches, like all great sages, that we should not waste energies on speaking too much; also to be mindful of the way we impact others and ourselves as well as the environment our speech.  The throat chakra is connected to all the other chakras and without the higher intelligence of the brow chakra above it to command it, speech can become a terrifying weapon of destruction.  The goal is to produce uplifting communications - also to think about how speech from others affects us and whether we are able to detach from that as necessary.  Speech is never just sounds - it comes with prana, it comes with intentions, emotions etc. involving every chakra.  Sounds are really important, far more than we realize.  The entire Sanskrit alphabet was created with the chakras and nadis in mind for a reason.  Speech is also a carrier of shaktipat, the transmission of energy from a higher to a lower source in order to raise it up - and one of the powers of a true Guru.  There is a LOT more to this science, far more than I can relay here.  

Secrets of Khechari Mudra

Put away from thee all denials of expression and with thy steeds of the yoking, with Indra for thy charioteer come, O Vayu, in thy car of happy light to the drinking of the Soma wine.  
Rig Veda ch8v2 in Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda
ch.VIII "Vayu, the Master of the Life Energies"

With Swati we are definitely in the throat chakra, now but with a lot of links to the heart chakra.*  This is the nakshatra chakra dealing with the throat chakra.  The wind god Vayu suggests it strongly and his power to scatter like the wind (pradhvamsa shakti). What I found more interesting is Swati's association with the Chatak bird (Pied Crested Cuckoo) and how this relates to khechari mudra and the siddhi (supernatural power) of being able to live on prana without breathing (no air, no Vayu).

Khechari mudra is what happens in a very advanced stage of meditation, as Sri Vasudeva describes:

"Khechari mudra is that mudra where you don’t need ida-pingala again, you’re being fed from the sushumna, and the mind becomes quiet, totally quiet.  And when the kryia’s happening for the khechari mudra, the tongue tends to ride back to touch the back at the throat.  It happens in the beginning, and afterwards you don’t need the tongue to move back physically, the energy just goes, and you’re more withdrawn.  A very good book that would describe these processes is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika – “Light of Yoga”.  It’s a marvellous book, but it can only be understood when the inner Shakti is awakened."
Sri Vasudeva, 2015 40 Days, Day 38, May 2/15 
It isn't so far fetched that we can have supernatural powers.  It would be more correct to say that we have them already, we are just not accessing them.  In deep meditation many people will experience a state when their breathing slows down.  As Sri Vasudeva teaches, this is because the person is being fed prana from the inside.  It is prana not oxygen that animates the soul in the body.  There are people who can live on this inner prana (breatharians) and masters who are buried alive and survive because they are at this advanced state where they are being fed prana not only from their mind but from their Kundalini that has been awakened in their sushumna.

In light of the above, Prash Trivedi's comment makes a lot of sense:

"In our bodies, Swati relates to the five vital pranas or airs. These airs form an interface between the astral and the corporeal body. It is these airs which are normally referred to as the life force within us. The preliminary spiritual practices like pranayama are meant to create an equilibrium between these five vital airs, so that the mind can remain free from ripples when the real meditative process begins. Swati relates to the immense potential of these body airs, which when utilized properly, as done by sages in Ages gone by, allowed them to meditate unhindered for thousands of years and have lifespans which exceeded lifespans of the Ages."
Prash Trivedi, The Book of Nakshatras: A Comprehensive Treatise on the 27 Constellations
This, to me, is the essence, the core mystical meaning, behind Swati.


Isn't there a curious connection between seed sounds and the fact that birds eat seeds?

Chatak bird (Pied Crested Cuckoo)

Swati is in the Hindu calendar system the month of October, in India a monsoon season when the Chatak bird refuses all sources of water except the pure rain that drops like pearls from the Moon (Soma) or the star Arcturis (Swati's star in the Indian tradition).  This story is often used as an allegory in various ancient texts and poems for the discriminating seeker who only seeks the pleasure of the Divine, abandoning the pleasures below (of the body or material world).  Intuitively, this also suggests or hints about a fasting practice to me.

"This bird is often quoted by saints as an example of an ideal spiritual seeker who ignores all things worldly and quenches its thirst by drinking directly from the heavens above.
 I think Sri Ramakrishna is one of those saints.

The स्वा swa in swati is an adjective meaning "of self".  According to Sri Vasudeva's teachings, in this last stage of the throat chakra the one in meditation, the seeker, begins to turn away from outward expressions of the Divine and begins to focus inward, seeking the inner ecstasy that comes from expansion of the "I".  A Swati native is the one to drink the first drop of the ocean of bliss, the ocean of Satchitananda.  This comes in a grosser form, as amrita, which refines more and more into the samadhi or soma experience at GV18 (Purvashadha) although the supreme Ananda of the supreme Bindu comes only once the Kundalini has pierced the Bramarandhra chakra, the Guru Chakra and entered into the transcendent space of Sahasrara.

These things are worth contemplating as to Swati's intrinsic meaning.

More about Vayu

Vayu is the deity of the subtle element air, that which we breathe in through the nostrils yet carries prana into the body along the ida and pingala nadis in the form of prana (incoming) and apana (outgoing) life force energy to keep our body nourished and alive.  (There are five types of prana.)

Vayu is the Lord of Life. By the ancient Mystics life was considered to be a great force pervading all material existence and the condition of all its activities. It is this idea that was formulated later on in the conception of the Prana, the universal breath of life. All the vital and nervous activities of the human being fall within the definition of Prana, and belong to the domain of Vayu. 
Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, p.309
From a yogic practice perspective this is all about the practice of pranayama, the conscious management of breathing for total wellbeing body-mind-spirit.**  Since the pradhvamsa shakti associated with Vayu for Swati nakshatra is the power to scatter like the wind, it begs the question: What is being scattered?  What is carried in the element air?

Prana, the Life Force Energy of Vata dosha

Sri Aurobindo in his commentary on the Rig Veda links Vayu with (among other things) वातप्रमियः vatapramiyah (Rig Veda IV.58).   Vata is one of the three doshas described in the Indian healing science and is associated with Jyotish, Ayurveda.  Vata is that nervous energy (or "humour" in the Western occult tradition) associated with the subtle elements air and space (the three doshas are an expression of the five elements in the subtle anatomy). When Vata is in its finer or transmuted state it becomes prana, life force energy.  Hence, chapter 8 in Sri Aurobindo's book The Secret of the Vedas is all about Vayu, and is entitled "Vayu, the Master of the Life Energies".

"Vayu is the Lord of Life. By the ancient Mystics life was considered to be a great force pervading all material existence and the condition of all its activities. It is this idea that was formulated later on in the conception of the Prana, the universal breath of life. All the vital and nervous activities of the human being fall within the definition of Prana, and belong to the domain of Vayu." (Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Vedas, link)

The Rig Veda is rich with symbolism and alludes to both yogic practices (in this case kechari mudra) as well as the greater practice of spiritual union.  Sri Aurobindo, a poet himself, does the same in his commentary where he writes:

"Out of that ocean rises “the honeyed wave” of sensational existence with its undelivered burden of unrealised delight climbing full of the “Ghrita” and the “Soma”, the clarified mental consciousness and the illumined Ananda that descends from above, to the heaven of Immortality. The “secret Name” of the mental consciousness, the tongue with which the gods taste the world, the nexus of Immortality, is the Ananda which the Soma symbolises," (p.307)
The "tongue" now becomes not the gross physical tongue but that mental faculty by which we learn to transcend mind.

More importantly for the practicing mystic/yogi, air carries with it life force energy - prana, chi, qi. That is what nourishes the soul AND the physical body.  That is what gets scattered in the wind - both in-coming and out-going.  And when we speak, our voice carries a kind of power, a kind of prana called shakti carried by the sound riding on the wave of the breath.

Saraswati nadi

I am also wondering whether स्वाति Swati has any relationship to the goddess of music सरस्वती Saraswati.  Saraswati is also a nadi running down the front of the body connected to one of the petals of the root chakra.

We have established that the deity associated with Swati, Vayu, is associated with pranayama.  Here is some more evidence in the etymology of the shakti for this "pradhvamsa shakti".  We now have a great hint in two root word प्राध्व prAdhva "being on a journey" and "long" and हंस haMsa which is (as Sri Vasudeva teaches) the natural mantra of the breath (we breathe out ham and we breathe in sa - try breathing in and out with your mouth and you will hear the sound yourself).  This is a hint that this nakshatra is all about the power of pranayama, taking the breath with the prana in it to any part of the body (hence the idea of "scattering in the wind" which is David Frawley's translation).  And specifically when we take the prana down along the Saraswati nadi we are nourishing the physical body.  Bringing the prana back up the sushumna up to the throat and into the head, we are transmuting the prana, in alignment with Kundalini - working with Her.   This is the highest form of the practice as I understand it.

So although the GV13 points suggests kechari mudra, what is more important than kechari mudra in a daily yogic practice is pranayama for cleansing the body at the level of the nadis, and moving prana through the chakras to assist in their unfolding - because we can work on spiritual consciousness development from the outside in as well as the inside out.  And because Swati as GV13 is associated with the throat chakra being linked with the heart chakra (anahata controls the element air, Vayu) it is important for the seeker to express things we communicate through the throat (speech, writing, singing) coming from a space of love.  When Chandra, the moon/mind sits in Swati nakshatra it suggests to me mental control of prana (this is a more advanced form of pranayama, not even needing the gross breath but simply moving prana with the mind - anywhere where moving it in the body or out of the body and filling a space with it or even into someone else).  Such is our power.

GV13 陶道 (táo dào)

Chinese Lunar General 箕 Ji

GV13 箕 Ji "Winnowing-basket /A Sieve" [Swati]

The military general associated with this has the meaning "gossip, slander, sex" (see my post).

The Chinese lunar constellation Ji is situated under the tail of the Azure Dragon and is symbolized by a basket "in order to collect its precious dung!"  (Derek Walters), a similar idea of gathering precious drops from a cosmic space.  This is similar to the idea of khechari mudra portrayed as drops of divine elixir (amrita) dripping from the "bottom" of sahasrara.

Winnowing more correctly describes the whipping motion of the tail of the Azure Dragon.  (I can't remember which source this came from.)  That certainly matches Swati ("seeds that are scattered in the wind" (pradhvamsa shakti) associated with Swati) - like someone using a winnowing basket.  The purpose of winnowing is to separate the hard outer layer from the soft and nutritious inner seed inside.  The spiritual meanings associated with this are quite obvious.  We have to shed quite a lot of ego attachment as our spiritual (sacred sexual) energy is transmuted as it moves up.

[needs more research]

*A curious link is associated Swati's alternative name निष्ट्या Niṣṭyā where in an ancient text (a Tamil hymn Narayana Suktam - Locus of the Soul) adho niṣṭyā is taken to mean 'below the Adam's Apple'" (see link).
** See this interesting article " Prana Astrology in Kalacakra tantra" that makes the link between pranayama and astrology