The name Vishakha meaning "forked" or "two branched" suggests a dark and light side, perhaps a pingala and ida aspect to this point in the throat area now at the base of the medulla oblongata within.
"Vishakha", like other Sanskrit terms, evokes a wide variety of English meanings - "forked", "two-branched", "poison vessel". Its alternative name is "Radha", which translates into "the delightful". Radha, as a name, has gained popularity by virtue of being the name of Krishna's beloved consort."
About the name - this is definitely a reference to Vishuddha chakra (the throat chakra):
"Vishuddha chakra is known as the purification center. Here the nectar amrita drips down from the Bindu chakra and is split into a pure form and a poison." (Wisdom Library link)
The consciousness of the throat chakra is also known as Radhe-Krishna (that is Radha - the most perfect gopi and the shakti of Krishna Consciousness). Krishna is a form of Vishnu, the preserver and it is at the throat chakra that the Vishnu consciousness knot (Vishnu Granthi) unties. This is like the second danien level of consciousness transformation, where worship of the Divine, thanks to deeper spiritual experiences, now takes the sincere seeker inward - where one's own Self is worshipped at the Divine, which is a more evolved practice. It was Ramakrishna's personal example that demonstrates this best because he worshipped an image of the Shakti (a murti) to such an extent that the Divine appeared before him and spoke through the statue - but really it was his own inner experience that awakened in him taking him to full realization of his own Divine Self.
Purifying the poison of ignorance at the Throat Chakra
|Siva नील कांता Neelakantha "blue-throated"|
Siva in this story is "Viṣakaṇṭha (the one who held poison in his throat). He was later saved by the mahavidya (tara) who is also a form of Parvati. The poison made his throat turn blue; hence, he is also known as Nīlakaṇṭha (the one with a blue throat)," (link) Note how the name विशाख Vishaka links to विषकण्ठ Viṣakaṇṭha.
Sri Vasudeva once said:
"In the Hindu epic of the Shrimad Bhagawatam, there is the story of the churning of the ocean. These are all beautiful legends of great meaning. We speak of the ocean as Consciousness. When the ocean was churned all kinds of negative things came out. It is said that Shiva's throat turned blue because he swallowed the poison that came out of the ocean, but at the end, beautiful things came out of the ocean and finally the nectar of the Gods came out from the bottom of the ocean. That nectar is within you. If you can only churn your mind, if you can bring out the negative qualities and dispel them, what you will find inside of you is divine sweetness."
This is its deeper meaning, at the level of consciousness transformation.
Sri Jaggi Vasudeva also shares some deeper insights into the poison that GV14 Vishakha/Radha probably represents:
"Among these seven fundamental ones, the vishuddhi chakra is located in the pit of your throat. This particular chakra is very strongly associated with the snake. The vishuddhi is about stopping poison, and a snake carries poison. All these things are connected. The word vishuddhi literally means “filter.” If your vishuddhi becomes powerful, you have the ability to filter everything that enters you. Shiva’s center is supposed to be vishuddhi, and he is also known as Vishakantha or Neelakantha because he filters all the poison. He doesn’t allow it to enter his system. Poisons are not necessarily that which you may consume through food. Poisons can enter you in so many ways: a wrong thought, a wrong emotion, a wrong idea, a wrong energy or a wrong impulse can poison your life. If your vishuddhi is active, it filters everything. It saves you from all these influences. In other words, once vishuddhi is very active, that person is so powerful within himself that whatever is around him does not influence him anymore. He is established within himself. He tends to become a very powerful being."
All of this is at the level of Consciousness and the Cosmic - that we can experience in the subtle body. One needs to contemplate how this reflects on the Moon in Vishakha, the mental field focused on the throat chakra in the area of one path leading to amrita (divine bliss nectar, the consciousness of one's own immortality in Spirit) and the other path leading to the ignorance that poisons life and holds us in contraction and limitation. Blue does not only refer to "poison" but also to a colour associated with divinity and said to be the colour of the throat chakra itself.
The Bindu chakra referred to is probably the secondary kshetram of the posterior Indu/Buddhi chakra which I identify as GV18 (Purvashadha). In meditation whenever I get that intoxicated feeling because Kundalini has risen to the head, I always feel this point being activated.
While Vishakha suggests "poison", rādhā means "the gift". This is interesting because it suggests a dual nature is going on now. As the energy moves up into the head area, in a saintly direction there is still a strong pull of body and mind identification that the ego has to deal with. Although Vishuddha (the throat chakra) means "purity", this is more in relation to how far the Kundalini has taken the seeker. We are now entering the Rudra granthis, the last knot of ego to be untied, and the toughest stage of all. The temptation of having all these powers to access the chakras through pranayama and other techniques becomes more and more of a threat to self-emancipation from the pull of Maya (the "poison" of identity-ignorance). Our higher Self is pulling us ever inward/up while our lower self (the pull of karma and the physical body with its survival instincts) pulling us outward/downward. It takes a lot of vigilance to stay the path at this stage (especially when spiritual experiences are not forthcoming to inspire us). The temptation here (and it increases as we go up to GV17 Mula) is to assert our ego more and more "I am in power" "I know everything" "This is mine!" - instead of "Thy will be done", "I am only an instrument in humble service"...
The throat chakra has the most petals on it compared to the other five below the crown and Sri Vasudeva has given workshops focused on this special chakra because it gives us the power to bring the forces of all the chakras through it, so we need to make a special effort here to speak with love, with noble intention, also with vitality. Here we have the combined gifts of Indra and Agni expressed as the power to achieve many and various fruits in life (vyapana shakti). At this stage the seeker has not yet given their "I" totally to the Divine and still has the freedom to choose evil or good actions, especially speech based on selfishness.
Speech is a particularly powerful carrier of a special kind of prana called shaktipat. It means the transmission of a more powerful energy to a weaker one. This is what true gurus give us in darshan or initiations, but we also do it to each other. A kind word can uplift and a harsh one can destroy - even moreso when the person has attained some measure of spiritual achievement.
This speaks to the root word of both Vishakha and Vishuddha: विशु Vizu/Vishu that means "in various directions," "in both directions," or "on both sides". We can go either way at this point. We can be full of ego (pingala, very active) or receptive and in humility (Radha, the perfect bhakti yogi).
Its main symbol as a decorative arch or gateway I think refers to this location as the beginning of the Rudra granthis point.
I think all of this points to the essential idea of Vishakha and the fork in the road that the seeker now faces at this stage of ascension.
Interesting things about the poison
"Putana had smeared her breast with a mandana, an intoxicant, to kill Krishna. However, Krishna squeezed her breasts and took her life away(prana), as well as her milk." (Wikipedia)The intoxication and the prana directly corresponds to pranayama practices of raising the sexual energy - the element of water from the sacral chakra to its more expansive form as ojas in the head, bringing an intoxicated feeling in the brain. And this is coming up from the heart chakra as well, the area of the breasts. So here we are talking about subtle energies once again. And the temptation for the seeker or yogi is always to get stuck at one stage, like for example getting stoned or blissed out in meditation rather than staying grounded and one-pointed to go further into consciousness transformation.
The gopis, in the story of Krishna are milk maids. Milk is a metaphor for the ocean of consciousness, and in the story of Putana, it the idea of the purest milk of all (for humans) breastmilk becoming poisoned. It is again hinting about the poisoning of one's consciousness when in the limitation of maya, of the delusion of life in the body.
[to be continued]