Manipura is derived from two Sanskrit words: mani meaning 'jewel' and pura meaning "city". Therefore, manipura literally means "city of jewels". In theTibetan tradition, this chakra is known as mani padma, which means "jewelled lotus". Manipura is a very important center as far as the awakening of kundalini shakti is concerned. It is the center of dynamism, energy, will and achievement and it is often compared to the dazzling heat and power of the sun, without which life on earth would not exist. In the same way that the sun continually radiates energy to the planets, manipura chakra radiates and distributes pranic energy throughout the entire human framework, regulating and energizing the activity of the various organs, systems and processes of life. When deficient, it is more like the glowing embers of a dying fire rather than a powerful intense blaze. In this state the individual is rendered lifeless, vitality deficient and devoid of energy. He will be hindered by poor health, depression and lack of motivation and commitment in life. Therefore, the awakening of manipura is an important precedent, not only for the sadhaka, but for anyone who wishes to enjoy life more fully.
Manipura chakra is located directly behind the navel on the inner wall of the spinal column. The kshetram is situated right at the navel. This chakra is anatomically related to the solar plexus, which controls the digestive fire and heat regulation in the body.
Traditional symbology :
Manipura is symbolized by a ten petalled bright yellow lotus. Some of the tantric texts say the lotus petals are the color of heavily-laden rain clouds. On each petal one of the ten letters: dam, dham, nam, tam, tham, dam, dham, nam, Ã'â,¬ÃÂ°m and pham is inscribed in the color of the blue lotus. In the center of the lotus is the region of fire, symbolized by an inverted fiery red triangle which shines like the rising sun. The triangle has a bhupura or swastika in the shape of a T on each of its three sides. In the lower apex is the ram, vehicle for manipura, symbolizing dynamism and indomitable endurance. Seated on the ram is the bija mantra of manipura - ram. In the bindu reside the deva Rudra and the devi Lakini. Rudra is of a pure vermilion hue and he is smeared with white ashes. He is threeeyed and of an ancient aspect. Lakini, the benefactress of all, is four-armed, of dark complexion and radiant body. She is clothed in yellow raiment, decked with various ornaments and exalted from drinking nectar.
The center of awakening :
According to the Buddhist tradition and many of the tantric texts, the actual awakening of kundalini takes place from manipura and not from mooladhara. And in some tantric traditions, mooladhara and swadhisthana are not referred to at all, as these two centers are believed to belong to the higher realms of animal life, whereas from manipura onwards higher man predominates. So mooladhara is the seat of kundalini, swadhisthana is the abode, and the awakening takes place in manipura. This is because from manipura the awakening becomes ongoing and there is practically no danger of a downfall or devolution of consciousness. Up to this point, kundalini may awaken and arise many times, only to recede again, but awakening of manipura is what we call a confirmed awakening.
Union of prana and apana :
In tantra there is an important branch known as swara yoga, the science of the breath, which is used to bring about the awakening of kundalini. According to this system, all the pranas in the body are classified into five dimensions - prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana.At the navel region, there is an important junction where two of these vital forces - prana and apana, meet.
Manipura in perspective :
Human evolution takes place through seven planes in the same way that kundalini awakens in the seven chakras. When the consciousness evolves to manipura, the sadhaka acquires a spiritual perspective. He gets a glimpse of the higher lokas or planes of existence.