Sahasrar Chakra – Inebriation and Ecstasy
In this last installment of our series on the seven chakras, Sadhguru enters the realm of Sahasrar, where inebriation and ecstasy abound. He explains why it is not a place for one to inhabit, its connection to Adiyogi and the crescent moon, and how people often touched this dimension in southern Indian temples.
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Q: Sadhguru, can you tell us what is the path of Sahasrar? What would it be like? Is there an example of someone who belongs to that tradition?Sadhguru: Sahasrar is not a path. When we use the word “path”, it means a demarcated way, an established way. If there has to be demarcation, you need a physical space. Sahasrar is not a physical space. It has a presence in the geography of the body, but it does not represent a physical space. Because of this, there is no path.
There are any number of indications about this in the tradition but one dramatic example would probably be of Totapuri and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Ramakrishna, who was a bit too much into Sahasrar, wouldn’t have lasted long because that is not a space where one can hold on to the physical body and exist. As ecstatic and fantastic as it is, it is not a living space, it is a “going” space. Once in a way, you can touch it and be back. When someone stays there for too long, the body will not hold.
You may have heard of Totapuri taking a piece of glass and cutting Ramakrishna’s Agna to bring him down to clarity and knowing, rather than simply floating around in ecstasy. Is floating around in ecstasy not good? It is great but you cannot work and manifest something in that condition. That condition is like inebriation. It is wonderful and existentially fantastic, but in terms of human activity, you cannot be functional in those states. Even if you are functional, you are not very effective. It is a fuzzy world between physical and non-physical.
So, the less we say about Sahasrar the better because right now we are on a mission – we cannot afford fuzziness. Here and there, we party a bit – we have our Bhava Spandanas and satsangs, but then we want to be focused on what we need to do. That will not be possible if everyone is in Sahasrar. And if everyone starts inhabiting there, they will not be here for long, they will be gone.
About examples from the tradition – there is no such thing. You may have heard about Shiva being in ecstatic states, where he is inaccessible and unavailable. Someone who is so focused and intense is suddenly all oozy-woozy and not available. That is because these are “Sahasrar times”, when even someone as intense and focused as him is too drunk and inebriated for action.
Of all divine entities, Shiva is the most athletic. That means he signifies action, but even he gets woozy sometimes because he is in Sahasrar. So it is not a path. You go to Sahasrar because you want to get lost, not because you want to find yourself. When you feel like getting lost – Sahasrar. When you feel like finding yourself, you need to be on some path. Is there a tradition of getting lost? Yes there is, but you cannot make a form out of it.
Q: In one of your talks, you had mentioned the Soma Rekha. Could you please explain the nature of this line, its significance and experiential dimension?
Sadhguru: Soma means the moon or an intoxicating form. Soma Rekha means they trace the path of the third day moon. In India, there is a symbolism of amrita coming out of the ocean, Shiva drank up the poison part of it and everyone else wanted to drink the amrita or the elixir of life and make themselves immortal. Essentially, amrita is immortality in the sense that your experience of life rises beyond the physical. When your experience of life rises beyond the physical, you are obviously immortal in some way. Immortality does not mean we will have to endure you forever, it means that we don’t have to endure you at all because your physical nature is almost gone.
To put it in terms of chakras, it is Sahasrar. What you see as a third day moon is a drip of this. Three drops of amrita dripped out of Shiva’s Sahasrar and everyone is trying to access it. He is wearing it as an ornament. This is important. He is wearing it as an ornament on his head. That means there is a tinge of ecstasy always, but he is not immersed in it. Sometimes he goes into it but otherwise, there is always a tinge of ecstasy.
If this tinge of ecstasy is not there, one cannot sit. One can simply sit here without any need to do anything outside, without the need to pursue pleasure or fulfilment because there is a tinge of ecstasy. That means you are mildly buzzed out. If you are fully immersed in it and drunk, then you will be useless. When I say useless, I mean in terms of the world, not in terms of life. In terms of life, that is also okay. But in terms of activity in the world, you could become incapacitated. But with a tinge of ecstasy, you can do any amount of things and still feel that you have done nothing. It is like people who get a little drunk, they dance and dance and dance till their legs fall off because there is a tinge of ecstasy. They would not be able to do that at other times. So you can either dance or work or do whatever without any sense of burdensomeness because there is a tinge of ecstasy. Adiyogi is representative of this, that always, there is a tinge of ecstasy.
When we create a certain form – not all lingas but most of them – if they have been done properly, there is a tinge of ecstasy. If you do not bring this tinge of ecstasy into your own form and also the forms that are consecrated, then there is no inspiration. When I say there is no inspiration, people cannot come under the influence of a form – they will keep thinking about what they want.
This happens in many well-consecrated temples in India. People go there with the intent of praying and asking for all kinds of things, but when they go there, they forget these damn things and simply stand. This happens because of the tinge of ecstasy.
The shadow of a consecrated form – when I say shadow, don’t take it literally as light and shadow – in some way, the energy shadow of the form will naturally be there on the floor. If we mark that out, people can walk that. I think it is only in southern India that people are still actively aware of the third day moon, which is called pradosham.
The reason why people are conscious of this only in the South is because we owe it to Agastya Muni. He got a little too chatty with people and told them too many things! Out of his love for them, he spoke and told them that there are places where if you touch, there is ecstasy. So people made a tradition out of that and they want to walk that. This is very much there in the southern temples – parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. These are the only places where people are aware of it – maybe not individually aware, but in the tradition it is there.
I don’t think people would have discovered this by themselves. Someone must have spoken about it. We could blame Agastya for this or maybe some other yogi spoke about it because the one who creates the form will not generally speak about it because he does not want all the other aspects of the form to go waste. It is like serving food and a sweet to a child. He may just eat the sweet. This is why in India, we serve sweets only at the end of the meal. In the beginning they will serve a half spoon of payasam, just to taste so that you eat well, hoping that they will serve payasam in the end again! You have to eat all the other food which is nourishing and in the end, they will serve payasam again but by then your stomach is so full, you can’t eat too much sweet!
Similarly, if you just show people where that tinge of ecstasy is, people may start walking just that and miss out on everything else. As I said, if you are well established and there is a tinge of ecstasy, it is fantastic. But if you only seek that, it is still fantastic but a bit too fantastic and you may move from reality to lala land. You may be a little lala – wonderful for you – but it needs to be rooted in this world because there are things to be done here too.
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A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower January 2018.