Chakras and Deities: Keys to Experiencing God
CHAKRAS AND DEITIES ARTICLE CONTENTS
Find the chakras and deities below in order from the root chakra through the crown chakra. These deities include Ganesha for the root chakra; Parvati for the sacral chakra; Lakshmi for the solar plexus chakra; Hanuman for the heart chakra; Sadashiva for the throat chakra; Krishna for the third eye chakra and Nataraja for the crown chakra. Explore the symbolic meaning of each chakra and deity!
Chakras and Deities: Root Chakra
The deities Brahma, Indra and Ganesha are associated with the root chakra. These deities help to establish a foundation: Brahma is the creative aspect of God, Indra belongs to the heaven above, and Ganesha helps to overcome obstacles here on earth.
Brahma is the Hindu creator god also known as the Self Born, the Lord of Speech, and the creator of the four Vedas. Brahma is the consort of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and wisdom. Brahma is traditionally depicted with four faces and four arms.
Each face points to a cardinal direction. His hands hold symbols of knowledge and creation: sacred texts, mala beads symbolizing time, a ladle used to feed a sacrificial fire, and a lotus. Brahma is often depicted with a white beard and a sage-like expression. He sits on a lotus flower, dressed in white, red or pink, often with a swan or goose nearby upon which he can ride.
Indra is the king of heaven. He is associated with lighting, thunder, storms, rain and rivers. Indra rides on an elephant, symbolizing compassion, intelligence, and ancient wisdom. An elephant with seven trunks is sometimes depicted, representing all seven of the major chakras or energy centers in the body.
Indra Illustration by Rose Karlsen
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Ganesha is another prominent figure in chakras and deities. Ganesha is often invoked at the beginning of an undertaking or an event. Ganesha is also a patron of writers and learning. Ganesha became a popular deity in the 2nd to 5th centuries AD. He is found in various traditions including Jainism and Buddhism. For this reason, Ganesha is often invoked in the beginning of a practical endeavor.
Ganesha symbolism gives a glimpse into the stories and spiritual meaning of this well-known Hindu god. Accordingly, many of the symbols associated with Ganesha relate to his role as the remover of obstacles and the patron of new beginnings.
Chakras and Deities: Sacral Chakra
The sacral chakra is associated with deities including Vishnu, his consort Rakini and the goddess Parvati. There are others, but these are three of the main sacral chakra deities. Vishnu is an incarnation of Krishna. In this incarnation, he is the consort of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
Parvati, also known as Uma, is the Hindu goddess of fertility, love and devotion as well as divine strength and power. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the goddess energy and the consort of Shiva. Parvati is part of a trinity of Hindu goddesses that also includes Lakshmi and Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and learning.
In addition, Parvati is the mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya. (Learn more about Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god.) Parvati is also the daughter of Himavan (the god and personification of the Himalayas) and Queen Mena. Her name is derived from the Sanskrit words for “mountain” and can be translated as “daughter of the mountains.”
Parvati Illustration by Rose Karlsen
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Parvati is the goddess of family and the home, perhaps similar to hearth goddesses. This makes sense since the sacral chakra is connected to relationships, home, family and romance. There are many beautiful mantras and bhajans (sung poems) associated with Parvati. The words in the mantra in the video below are “Parvati Parashakti, Jai Parvati, Shakti Mata.” The meaning is “Victory to Parvati, the highest form of feminine divinity!”
The word “jai” means victory. “Para” means “highest or best” and “shakti” is the name for the feminine energy of creation. The lines are repeated twice, often sung as call and response with a leader and audience. More about the sacral chakra can be found at Sacral Chakra Meaning: Healing Relationships.
Chakras and Deities: Solar Plexus Chakra
The solar plexus chakra is associated with the deities Ruhdra, his consort Lakini, and the goddess Lakshmi. The solar plexus is the fire center, often symbolized by the color yellow or a sun-like image.
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. Her name is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning goal, aim or sign. In addition, Lakshmi is usually shown seated or standing on a lotus. The lotus symbolizes creation, beauty, harmony, diversity, stability, and support.
Lakshmi Illustration by Rose Karlsen
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The goddess Lakshmi is associated with gold coins as well as rice and basil. Lola is another name for Lakshmi meaning one who is moving or flowing. This chant to Lakshmi in this video is “Om Hrim Shrim Lakshmi Bhayo Namaha” meaning “Honor to Lakshmi who gives us blessings.”
Learn more about the Solar Plexus Chakra.
Chakras and Deities: Heart Chakra
Mantras for the heart chakra emphasize the heart as the seat of love and devotion. The heart expresses charity, compassion, and kindness. The heart is a focus for beauty and culture. The heart brings the awareness of community and compassion for others. Learn more about the heart chakra in Heart Chakra Meaning.
Deities associated with the heart are Hanuman in the Eastern tradition and the Holy Spirit in the West. The chant Breathe Through Me below is an example of a kirtan-style mantra sung in English. The mantra is accompanied by beautiful images of flowers, another symbol of love and the opening of the heart.
Hanuman is a key deity in the Hindu tradition associated with the heart chakra. Hanuman is the monkey god, hero of epics and stories in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Hanuman is the ardent devotee of Lord Rama, and he plays a central role in the epic poem Ramayana.
Hanuman is sometimes depicted as the patron of martial arts, wrestling, and acrobatics. I think of Hanuman as an Eastern superhero, somewhat akin to Superman or Spiderman or Batman. He is also the patron of meditation and scholarship.
Hanuman Illustration by Rose Karlsen
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The powers of Hanuman include the following:
- cannot be killed with any weapon in war
- power to induce fear in enemies
- power to destroy fear in friends
- cannot be harmed by lightning
- cannot be drowned (protection from water)
- cannot be harmed by fire
- can make himself as small or as large as he wants
- has no attraction to women
- will always be happy and content
Some interpretations of the name Hanuman are based on the fact that the Sanskrit word “han” means “killed or destroyed” and “maana” means “pride.” Therefore the name Hanuman would mean “one whose pride was destroyed.” The mantra “Hanuman Jaya Ram, Jaya Sita Ram” means “Victory to Hanuman, Sita and Ram!”
Chakras and Deities: Throat Chakra
The throat chakra is connected to creativity and self-expression as well as the actions of speaking, chanting and singing. Mantras are an ideal tool for supporting the thyroid and related organs.
One of the central Hindu deities associated with the throat chakra is Sadashiva. Sadashiva is the highest form of Shiva, the Hindu god of dissolution, somewhat akin to the Holy Spirit in the Western tradition.
Sadashiva Illustration by Rose Karlsen
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Sometimes Sadashiva is depicted with five faces representing five emanations of God or the four directions plus upward movement. Other sources see the number five symbolizing the five forces of the universe: creation, preservation, destruction, obscuration and grace.
Sadashiva wears a tiger skin indicating his victory over animal instincts. The snake around his neck represents the endless cycle of birth and death. The trishula held in one hand is a three-in-one symbol representing the divine as a trinity. Learn more about Hindu Deities and their mantras.
Chakras and Deities: Third Eye Chakra
The third eye is associated with several deities and combined forms of deities. For example, Shiva is often depicted as having three eyes because of his powerful development of this chakra. Other deities associated with the third eye include Vishnu and his incarnations as Krishna and Rama.
Krishna, one of the deities most closely associated with the third eye chakra, is the son of Devaki and her consort Vasudeva, king of the Chandravanshi clan. Devaki’s brother was Kansa, an evil tyrant. He was told that a child of Devaki would kill him, so he set out to murder the young Krishna.
Krishna Illustration by Rose Karlsen
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For his own protection, Krishna was sent to live in the country with Nanda and his wife Yasoda. Krishna’s childhood was spent among their cow herds. This is the origin of Krishna’s childhood names, Gopala and Govinda. Learn more about Hindu Deities.
Lyrics: Devakinandana Gopala, Gopala, Gopala, Gopala
Meaning: Gopala is the joy or bliss (ananda) of his mother Devaki.
Chakras and Deities: The Crown Chakra
One of the presiding deities for the crown chakra is Shiva— often depicted in a dancing form known as Nataraja—Lord of the Dance. Shiva is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, part of the trinity composed of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Shiva is the destroyer of evil, akin to the Holy Spirit in the Christian trinity. Shiva is alternately depicted both as benevolent and fearsome. Shiva is often shown with a serpent around his neck, a crescent moon as an adornment, the river Ganges flowing from his hair or flowing nearby, the trishula as his weapon, and a damaru (drum) nearby.
Nataraja Illustration by Rose Karlsen
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The dancing form of Shiva called Nataraja is a joyful being spinning and dancing through creation. Learn more about the sounds and seed syllables for the crown chakra in the article Chakra Sounds.
Meet the Author
Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen and her husband Andrew live in Bozeman, Montana. They have five children and a small urban homestead. More about Kathleen Karlsen.
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Vocal Medicine Book
Learn more about using mantras and singing to invigorate your life! Explore concepts from East and West related to the power of singing. Explore the chakras and the impact of sound in every area of your life. Vocal Medicine reveals Kathleen Karlsen’s personal journey and years of research into mantras, chanting and kirtan.
CHAKRAS AND DEITIES SUMMARY
This article covers the chakras and deities in the Hindu tradition. Pairing together the functions of the chakras and the personifications of the chakra energies helps to clarify the purpose of particular chakras. Each of the seven major chakras are associated with one or more of the deities in the Hindu pantheon.
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