Bodily Purification and Strength/Vitality from Manipura Chakra
“Nabhi Chakra [part of the Manipura chakra]The third chakra is the one that gives us the sense of complete satisfaction and contentment. It is the center which makes us peaceful and generous, and also sustains our spiritual ascent. When enlightened by the Kundalini, it expresses as righteousness and inner sense of morality, and it gives us complete balance at all levels in our life.”
GV6 पुष्या Pushya
Pushya is "the nurturer" and is usually symbolized by a cow's udder which relates to समुद्रमन्थन Samudramantha, the churning of the ocean of milk story (see below) that links it to GV7 Ashlesha...
But first...its other symbols - the lotus and the wheel - I think are also a hint as to its importance as a chakra. I believe that Pushya connects to the centre of the solar plexus, Manipura and perhaps this has to do with a very advanced yogic practice of sustenance by prana alone. There are "breatharians" who can live without food, and I have met a man (Hira Ratan Manek) who lives on sunlight (and he told me that was the original meaning of the Gayatri Mantra). Here is a documentary about a very advanced boy who demonstrated this ability in recent years:
Sri Vasudeva teaches that when we eat physical food, it is really the prana of the food that sustains us. When we eat denatured food, or over processed food, or stale food - food that can't remember where it came from, we are not getting much prana from it. We can get prana from the air, from everything, even from thoughts. That's why it feels so energizing to be around uplifting people and places, and so draining to be around depressing people and places. Our soul food is literally prana. Our own thoughts can nourish us and deplete us. He teaches that eating should be treated as a sacred experience, no matter what your diet. Whether you say a prayer of thanks before a meal, or reiki your food, you are adding more prana (life force energy) to it, sort of rescuing it somewhat. (The degree to which you can rescue poor quality food also depends on the degree of your spirituality, your centering, your focus, your alignment with the Divine.) Eating physical food is the safer practice than trying to live without physical food.
Many followers of breatharians have starved themselves to death in the attempt to live on prana alone, so I don't advise messing around with this practice myself, plus it's a lifetime of dedication that is not necessarily going to help you attain moksha, that is the greater goal.
The deity for Pushya nakshatra is Brihaspati, priest of gods, the god of divine wisdom. His power/shakti is "is the ability to create spiritual energy (brahmavarchasa shakti)," [David Frawley]. I now take this to mean that Brihaspati represents the power of the advanced yogi who is able to transmute the energy of the breath, of sunlight or of thought into prana (spiritual energy) that sustains the physical body without the need for physical food.
Another symbol for Pushya is the flower. I discovered a story about one of Brihaspati's sons that probably explains what the flower means [I can't find the source for it]:
Brihaspati's other son learned this mantra: The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is Mrita Sanjeevani Mantra. It doesn't literally revive the dead, it removes fear of death and leads to liberation "I surrender myself to the Divine Being (Shiva) who embodies the power of will, the power of knowledge, and the power of action. I pray to the Divine Being who manifests in the form of fragrance in the flower of life and is the eternal nourisher of the plant of life. like a skillful gardener, may the Lord of Life disentangle me from the binding forces of my physical, psychological, and spiritual foes. May the lord of Immortality residing within me, free me from death, decay and sickness and unite me with immortality."
It may be a stretch, but I think "fragrance in the flower" is like the subtle energy or prana, and it gives eternal nourishment to the soul. This ability to live on prana certainly removes one from fear of death. We have all heard stories of yogis being buried alive - they were living on prana. So that's what I think Pushya is all about in essence, having that amazing ability or siddhis.
It would be worthwhile to contemplate all the meanings ascribed to Pushya as having been derived from this or added to this. What the priest of the gods is responsible are the rituals, and rituals are supposed to invoke the power of all the elements, tapping into the subtle prana of life as it manifests in Nature. Knowing about prana and how to work with it in alignment with the Divine, that's what Pushya is all about, how to tap into its power to co-create with the Universe.. Sri Vasudeva, my Guru, has been speaking about this for years:
"...with time I’ll explain more and more and more...to you so you’ll see the beauty of it and then you’ll understand what is mantra, what is yantra and all the rituals and all of that. I’m totally in admiration for the masters who honour all the elements for what they are. In the ancient Vedic period that’s what they did. They gave recognition to all the elements, the powers of Nature, to be in harmony with them, that is in the Vedas. And then in the Upanishads they tell you how to release yourself from that maya. The wisdom is in the Upanishads."
A ritual that does not have your heart and soul in it, that is only for selfish purposes, that is not in alignment with the Divine, is a pitiful thing. The word RITUAL lives in the word SPIRITUAL. And if you think you are someone who does not perform rituals, even if you are an atheist, you are mistaken. EVERYBODY performs rituals - even in as mundane a thing as brushing your teeth (we can call these unconscious rituals or unintended rituals). My point is whatever we do we invest energy into it and that action (any action = energy) always produces an after effect with consequences (a karma). And there are people (oh those pitiful people) who think they are performing religious rituals when in fact they may as well be just brushing their teeth, they are so not into it, or not knowing what makes the ritual work in the first place, or being misled by someone in power... :(
Pushya, in its best form (not afflicted) is that Jupiterian energy of knowing how to expand spiritual (ritual-in-Spirit) energy in your life for the good of all - how to spiritualize anything and everything, how to walk in the footsteps of the Divine and help others share in the bounty of the Divine.
Brahma-Varchas - the Super Spiritualized Aura of the Enlightened Yogi
This relates to brahmavarchasa shakti. In his book Thought Power Swami Shivananda wrote this tantalizing description:
"Those who have even a little control over their thoughts and speech will have a calm, serene, beautiful, charming face, sweet voice and brilliant, lustrous white eyes. Just as sweet perfume continuously emanates from an incense stick, so also divine perfume and divine effulgence (magnetic, Brahmic aura) radiate from a Yogin who has controlled his thoughts and who is constantly dwelling on Brahman or the infinite. The effulgence and perfume of his face is Brahma-Varchas. When you hold in your hand a bouquet made of jasmine, rose and Champaka flowers, the sweet perfume pervades the whole hall and tickles all alike. Even so, the perfume of fame and reputation (Yasas and Kirti) of a Yogin who has controlled his thoughts spreads far and wide. He becomes a cosmic force."
This makes sense relating to the shakti associated with this nakshatra. If you have ever had the great blessing to be in the presence of an enlightened being, and have the sensitivity to subtle energy, you will be blown away at the radiance of their aura. And they smell good too - perhaps this is the association Pushya has with the flower symbol. Even if you don't sense their aura in no time you feel comfortable in their presence and will become giddy and in good spirits. I always see this around Sri Vasudeva wherever he goes. When an enlightened being works the prana at the navel chakra, their aura is even more magnified than usual. So this is the esoteric meaning I take for Pushya. And we can all access this power of the navel, in a meditation practice that incorporates the power of mind together with the navel chakra - thought control and, if Kundalini is awakened, the power of the immortal Self as well - to supercharge the body on all levels of being.
समुद्रमन्थन Samudramantha - The Churning of the Ocean of Milk
I am not the first Jyotish researcher to see the connection between Pushya and this very ancient mythological story of the churning of the ocean of milk. I have written about it in my post on Ashlesha GV7. In the night sky the Milky Way has often been used as a metaphor for the sushumna, the axis of life force within us. And Samudramantha is a purification story. So why does it begin here in the navel chakra? As Paramahansa Yogananda and others have written the Brahmanadi begins in this chakra (the subtle-causal channel that takes us through to deepest core of our embodied being) and the navel chakra is also where the Brahmagranthis (psychic knot of attachment to gross-body-identification) begins to be untied. So of course there is a lot of churning going on here. Even on a physical level - because the stomach and digestive system, and the metabolism related to that is all about churning. And we are churning mentally too, bringing up all the strengths and weaknesses within us. And this is what Kundalini does all the time - whether She is working within us or in Life in general.
Agni (lord of the fire element) is associated with Manipura chakra. There are also some lines in the Rig Veda 2.23.15 that specifically make reference to Brihaspati (the deity of Pushya) as a form of Agni as priest - in the sense of Jatavedas-Agni, the sacred ceremonial fire that purifies and sends one's prayers or intentions through an alchemical process up to the God or Higher Self within us. In all purification processes heat is involved, and friction also - it is not exclusive to the navel chakra area. The Tejas tattwa, that is the fire element in its sublime form (not physical fire) is what gives the physical body and the soul the radiance of vitality/life force. It is also in the navel chakra where we have through pranayama techniques (such as Nauli Kriya) a confluence of different kinds of prana - samana-vayu, apana-vayu, and prana-vayu - and this is another kind of "churning". Of course Brihaspati means many things in the Rig Veda and Sri Aurobindo dedicates an entire chapter to him in his book The Secrets of the Vedas. The rishis were clearly hinting at many things with these deity-characters.
[to be continued]
GV6 脊中 (jì zhōng)
The adrenal glands produce steroid hormones that give our body vitality - the power to withstand stress, the power to boost the immune system, and the power to support our metabolism in the digestion of food. These are definitely Pushya qualities.
It is also the physical centre of the spine located directly opposite the liver. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver is considered to be the key organ in charge of the body's overall health. I think that the liver has some 500 functions that science has yet to uncover, so it is a master-organ for the body. Therefore this point must be like the "brain" of the physical body, sthula sharir. One may also think of this area as a priest/pundit of the body, that is this nakshatra's function.
Mostly though we think of the liver as the body's detoxifier as its primary function is to remove toxins from the blood. Interestingly, if we take all the names for this nakshatra: पुष्या pushya and तिष्य sidhya/tiSya - they all end with a root word ष्य sya that means "winnowing basket". A winnowing basket is used by the farmer to separate the grain (the edible part) from the chaff (the inedible part - the part the body can't use as nutrition). Is this not like the function of the liver? It is not a great leap in logic to see how the performance of a ritual, that is the function of the pundit-Pushya, is all about purification. Here the rishis may have been hinting about yogic practices to do with the navel chakra such as nauli kryia or to do with right diet and all that supports Kundalini's ascent and power with the best and purest pranic energies.
The liver cleans the blood specifically, and it is possible (in my opinion) that this ritualistic nakshatra may have had something to do with blood rituals in ancient times. We do know that in ancient Mesoamerica the Mayans and Aztecs used blood-letting rituals as a tool to induce visions (if you lose enough blood, the active mind starts to slow down bringing on a meditative state). Blood letting was basic medicine in Medieval Europe (to release toxins and purify the blood), and is a very powerful metaphor for sacrifice and communion in Christianity.
More clues from etymologyIf we again take the alternate names for this nakshatra: तिष्य sidhya/tiSya, this time looking at the first syllable ति -TI, it is used as a suffix meaning things like pole/pillar/rod/stalk/staff - all of which suggest the spine to me and GV6 being the central spinal position. Even in the word बृहस्पति Brihaspati (Pushya's deity) we have बृहस्प Govinda and ति -TI the idea of a pillar of support. Govinda is Krishna/Vishnu consciousness in its role to support specifically the world of Mother Nature, the all nourishing cow - because Nature, whose gift to us is the body and all that sustains it, is the vehicle for the soul's unfolding in the human experience.
Brihaspati is sometimes identified with Agni - the fire element associated with manipura chakra, very much relevant to GV6. Brihaspati has to do with rituals associated with honouring the elements, because these sustain the body and life on earth. Look around at the devastation of Nature today and you will see how badly we need to restore this Brihaspati energy - and become the caretakers of the Earth and not its rapists!
The story of Brihaspati's sons is an important mythological clue as to Pushya's deeper meaning.
[to be continued]
Brihaspati has many sacred meanings and plays a large role in the Rig Veda. Read through the lens of manipura chakra, these roles make sense (to me). Sri Aurobindo, in Secrets of the Vedas, writes that in Rig Veda the hymns associate Indra and Brihaspati with the Angiras who are ten sons of Agni, in the sense of "burning coals". I can't think of a better reference to the ten petals of manipura chakra, its association with the fire element and purification by burning, transforming jing into chi (a subtler form of prana). In the Rig Veda the cows answer to the call of Brihaspati (again a reference to Govinda and the manipura chakra's function as ruler over the entire physical domain in the human body and in the gross dimension). He also makes swar visible (manipura chakra is associated with Swar loka, the heaven for unenlightened souls). Brihaspati is described as having "seven-rayed knowledge" [loc 2801] that Sri Aurobindo interprets as the seven forms of divine consciousness, and the seven seers . In this book there is an entire chapter devoted to Brihaspati "Power of the Soul". Brihaspati is Jupiter, guru of the planets, in Jupiter's dual function to bring material as well as spiritual wealth - iconic code for the placement and function of manipura chakra (although Jupiter is traditionally associated with the sacral chakra).
Chinese Lunar General 壁 Bi to Emperor Black Tortoise
GV6 壁Bi "Wall or Partition" [Pushya]
KimiMayan Day Sign #6 is "Kimi" which means both death and rebirth. In Brigitte Rasine's The Serpent and the Jaguar: Living in Sacred Time, it states "Cimi represents Xib'alb'a, the Underworld of Mayan mythology, and embodies the eternal flow and cycle of death, rebirth and transformation." [Kindle loc.2196] Since I have determined that Pushya is about a kind of power over death, this signification makes sense.
Pushya might also connect to the centre of the Manipura. Sri Vasudeva teaches that Manipura is Swaha, the heaven for unenlightened souls, souls who do not have their Kundalini awakened. The reason is that the root chakra (Bhur), sacral chakra (Bhuva) and navel chakra (Swaha) are the physical chakras, and their domains and consciousness is "I am the body". At the navel chakra this knot of gross-attachment begins to loosen, so heaven begins here at the navel, in a sense. There are higher astral heavens related to the other chakras and celestial heavens for those who have attained moksha/liberation.
There are a few nakshatras related to abodes of the dead including the next two that follow Pushya, Ashlesha and Magha. I believe this is because the nakshatras are only minor chakras and several of them may indicate the same major chakra - or one might say, Swaha has many gateways.
[to be continued]