Vishuddhi Chakra – Mythology

There is a beautiful story in the Indian scriptures that clearly illustrates the process of the vishuddhi. The story is as follows:

It is said that in the primordial past, the suras and asuras were continually fighting each other. The suras are beings that represent the forces of good and light in the world and within each individual. These are the forces which help a person to overcome all obstacles and tread the spiritual path. In Christianity the equivalent would be angels; other religions have other names for them and for the opposite tendencies which lead to ignorance or tie a person to low levels of understanding. These are the forces that act as obstacles on the spiritual path. They can be roughly translated as demons or devils. These two forces can be understood and interpreted in many ways, and on many different levels of subtlety, but we leave this to the reader. Let us return to the story.

Both the suras and asuras tried to dominate and destroy each other. Eventually Vishnu tried to resolve the conflict by suggesting that they stir up the primordial ocean (called the ocean of milk representing the world and the mind) and equally divide the contents between them. This seemed to be a fair solution and Vishnu’s plan was adopted. The primordial ocean was stirred up and many things arose to the surface for sharing and distribution.

Everyone was very happy until a gruesome poison rose up to the surface. Neither the suras nor the asuras wanted it, but they could not throw the poison away because it would cause harm. There seemed to be a dilemma. Eventually Vishnu approached Shiva who was in deep meditation and asked his advice. Shiva merely picked up the poison and drank it in one gulp. It caused him absolutely no harm. Because of this action Shiva is widely known as nilakantha – blue throated, where blue refers to poison.

This action is very symbolic and very meaningful. It indicates that at higher levels of awareness or meditation, at and above the level of vishuddhi chakra, even poison (the negative aspects of existence – bad, evil, war, destruction, etc.) can be integrated as part of a whole. All aspects of existence, whether poison or nectar, are part of the total scheme of being.

When a person functions at the level of the vishuddhi chakra and above, then all concepts of good and bad fall away. They are seen in a higher light, from a wider viewpoint. Thus Shiva, because of his elevated state of being, was able to absorb even the poisonous aspects and experiences of life and transform them into a source of bliss.

Incidentally, there is also a bird in India called the nilakantha because of its blue throat (in English it is called the blue jay). Also the peacock is often associated with the ability to absorb poison and transform it into nectar. The peacock can eat almost anything without harming itself. This also applies to the yogi whose level of being is at the vishuddhi chakra; all experiences, good or bad, are sources of bliss. Everything becomes nectar – blissful.

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