The mystery of the night sky. The vastness of space. Pure vibration and music of the spheres …
Welcome to the world of Vishuddha, the fifth chakra!
Located at the throat, the fifth chakra is the point in the chakra system where things start to get interesting. It is the first of the upper chakras, representing a level of consciousness beyond the ordinary reality of personal limits. This can make understanding and relating to the lower chakras a little more difficult, but it is a fascinating field to be explored.
What is the ether element?
“Akasha tattva”, the Sanskrit name for the element associated with the fifth chakra, is usually translated as “ether element”. This can cause some confusion, as most people don’t know what exactly “aether” is!
In Western alchemy and ancient science, the ether referred to a mysterious fifth element that existed mainly in the areas of space above the earth’s sphere (the atmosphere, we might now say). Thought to hold the celestial spheres together, as an early concept of gravity, the ether was considered the medium by which light moved through the void.
The Indian element “akasha” is also related to luminosity. The word comes from the Sanskrit root “kas” which means “to shine”, and “akasha” is that which shines in all directions (“samantat kasate”).
In the Eastern esoteric tradition, akasha refers more specifically to open space or emptiness, radiating in all directions, pervading everything in the universe. It has the quality of transmitting sound.
You may be thinking that space is what lies between two solid objects. In fact, just as all objects exist in space, so space exists within all objects. It is an element that is a level above the other material elements, a kind of background from which the lower elements take shape, as an interface between the manifest and the unmanifest.
(Just as Vishuddha in the chakra system represents the transition from the personal domain of the lower chakras to the transcendent, to the transpersonal.)
Even in Western science today it is stated that all seemingly solid objects, including your body, are actually made mostly of empty space. The distance between an atom’s nucleus and its electron ring is proportionally as large as the distance between the Earth and the Sun!
The closer scientists look at matter, the less matter they find. Only open space and vibrant energy fields.
Space and time (and this is also confirmed by the physics of the last century) are intimately connected, and from a yogic perspective they simply exist as two dimensions of akasha, as the underlying matrix of all manifestations. Entering Vishuddha means going beyond time and space, to a point where past, present and future exist simultaneously and an infinite series of potentials – all possible pasts and futures – exist superimposed on each other within. of the singularity of any given moment.
And if this is getting a little esoteric (no pun intended), let’s move on to talking about how this energy actually manifests in the people you might see around you or in yourself.
What does a person look like in Vishuddha?
As the central resonance point of the ether element within the human being, a person with a particularly activated Vishuddha will often exhibit the following tendencies:
- Purity of being: difficult to define but easily recognizable, as a person who seems almost too pure and ethereal for this world
- Love for silence and solitude
- Strong spiritual insight
- Natural subtle perception and openness to the subtle planes of consciousness
- Strong and refined aesthetic sense
- Talent for poetry, music and words, always at a very refined level
- Clear understanding and transmission of spiritual teachings
People with strong Vishuddha tend to gravitate towards strong monasteries or spiritual environments, so it’s not someone you’ll meet too often in normal society. However, this level of consciousness represents an extremely important energy in every person’s spiritual life.
Music, language, mathematics: the discourse of the Universe
Modern neuroscience has found that music, language and math are governed by the same circuits that are in the brain, which explains why often people gifted in one of these fields will be talented in all three.
This discovery is fascinating but shouldn’t come as a great surprise to a yogi, as these are all related, on one level of consciousness, to the fifth chakra, Vishuddha. It is at this level that the universe expresses itself in harmony and abstraction, a kind of deeper communication that forms the basis of the whole manifestation.
At this level the universe itself is a song, a poem, a work of art: Logos, the divine Word.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Thus begins the Gospel of John, the most mystical and Gnostic-inspired of the four canonical gospels. This “Word” is the primordial vibration, formless but containing all forms, the impulse of expression at the root of all manifestation.
Language, music and mathematics represent all human abilities for abstract thinking and communication in its most refined form, which can be presented as the characteristic that distinguishes us from other forms of animal life. There is a mystery here, in which the ability to speak on the one hand separates us from the flow of nature and on the other allows us to self-reflect. With this crystallization of consciousness, we can get lost in a world of words and concepts, or we can become clear mirrors in which Consciousness can perceive itself.
What does it mean to speak and tell the truth?
Plato banned all artists from his Republic because he believed that all art was a hoax, and it is. Every word, every expression, is a lie, because Reality by nature is beyond words or any representation. “The Tao that can be described is not the true Tao.”
Yet sometimes this lie is the best way to tell the truth. Music, art, poetry, the sublime beauty of a balanced mathematical equation, all these can indicate Reality more truthfully than any speech.
The Supreme Word
So the Universe speaks to itself, through itself, that is, through us. God reflects himself in us so that he can see himself. And the whole manifestation is just this song, meaningless outside of itself, pointing only to itself.
Each moment is completely meaningless outside of itself, which means that it is infinitely meaningful within it.
Why does something exist? For the purpose of existing? Why are things the way they are? Because that’s how they can be.
In God’s language, existence is a snake that eats its tail in eternal perfection.
It is probably now clear that the fifth chakra frequency is not as encouraged by life in normal society. For some people it will seem rather remote, like visiting another planet!
However, for others, if you naturally have some openness in Vishuddha, this chakra brings a wonderfully familiar feeling, like reconnecting with a part of you that has long been grounded.
- Hatha yoga . Although there are not so many asanas for vishuddha, a practice of asana, pranayama and even mantras for the chakra can lead to strong activation.
- Silence . Vishuddha is related to the word, but actually one of the best ways to connect with it is through silence! The periods of “mauna”, consciously abstaining from speech or any communication, lead to a deep internalization and purification at this level. When you are stable in an inner silence, then when you speak, instead of getting lost in chatter, you express what comes from the center of your being.
- Loneliness . An activation of Vishuddha naturally brings an impulse to loneliness, a love of silence and withdrawal from world activity. And in turn, spending more time alone will naturally draw you into the flow of Vishuddha.
- Music . It could be said that the essence of music resides in Vishuddha, although obviously not all music resonates primarily with that chakra. However, music is a fantastic way to connect with Vishuddha. In AumTantraYoga, we often practice musical meditation using songs specially chosen to resonate in Vishuddha.
- Immersion in Vishuddha topics. If you are more of a studious type but want to capture the flavor of vishuddha, immerse yourself in the fields of Vishuddha. Astrology, astronomy, mathematics, music theory, linguistics … don’t forget, in classical India the study of Sanskrit grammar was considered a spiritual path!
- Look at the stars. If in doubt, stop and stare at the vastness of space for a few hours.
If you are interested in learning more about the chakras according to the tantric yoga tradition, sign up for our masterclass: “Journey through the Chakras and the Elements”