Root Chakra Meaning: Establishing Safety and Security

Root chakra meaning can be viewed on the physical, spiritual, emotional and symbolic levels. The name for the root or base chakra in Sanskrit is Muladhara. “Mula” means “root” and “adhara” means “base or support.” This chakra is at the base of the spine and can be viewed as establishing your connection to your physical body, the earth, and the environment. This is the chakra of safety and security.

The root chakra is associated with survival instincts for food, shelter, safety, comfort and belonging. The root chakra is also connected with your history and ancestral energy, your ability to stand your ground and feel safe in the world. Understanding and mastering the root chakra is a great step towards self-mastery and ease in life. Useful tools and resources include mantras, essential oils, yoga and meditation.

Root Chakra Definitions and Symbol

Root Chakra by Rose Karlsen

Transformational Sounds and Root Chakra Meaning

The vowel sound associated with the root chakra is UH. In the Sanskrit musical system, the sound associated with the root chakra is SA (sah). The musical instrument associated with the root chakra is the drum. The drum establishes the foundation and rhythm for a musical creation just as the root chakra creates the base for all of the other chakras.

There is also a seed syllable associated with each chakra. This is a single syllable that connects to the chakra. This syllable can be chanted to strengthen the energy of the root chakra. The seed syllable for the root chakra is LAM (luhm). A basic Vedic mantra for the root chakra using this syllable is “Om Lam Namaha.” This can be translated as, “I give honor to the energy of the root chakra.”

Organs Associated with the Root Chakra

The base chakra governs the lower part of the body, including the legs, hips, lower back and lower spine. These areas of the body establish balance and stability. The physical organs and systems associated with the base chakra include:

  • feet
  • knees
  • the pelvis
  • skeletal system
  • muscular system

These are generally the organs and systems that provide a strong foundation for physical health and a platform for our presence in the world.

Body Illustration by Rose Karlsen

Personal Experience of Root Chakra Meaning

The base chakra is related to establishing a foundation of basic security in your environment and social world. For me personally, I had lots of opportunities as a kid to reestablish that base and foundation in my life. Growing up in the military, we moved regularly.

By the time I graduated from high school, I had been in ten schools. I noticed as I got older that the other military kids tended to be more outgoing than the kids who had remained in the same geographic region all of their lives.

It was easy to find and make friends with the other military kids wherever we went. They, too, knew what it was like to be the new kid over and over again. I suppose we had to learn to have a strong inner foundation to be adaptable repeatedly in new situations.

Illustrations by Rose Karlsen
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Lotus Flower by Rose Karlsen

Root Chakra Symbol Meaning

In the Hindu tradition, the base chakra is depicted as a lotus flower with four petals. Each of the petals represent one of the mental states associated with this chakra. The interpretations and translations of the meaning associated with each of these petals vary widely.Some of the variations may be due to the difficulty of translating directly from Sanskrit, a language that assigns many meanings to a single word. Of course this is common in other languages as well (thus the term homonyms).

However, having multiple meanings for a single word is so prolific in Sanskrit that the term polysemy is more appropriate. Polysemy means that many related terms can be associated with a single word. Polysemy leads to sets and subsets of related meanings. The judgments needed to determine the exact meaning of a word in a particular context can be difficult to make.

Petals of the Root Chakra Symbol

The four petals of the base chakra are generally viewed as mind, intellect, consciousness and ego. Alternately, the petals can represent four forms of longing: dharma (psychological longing), artha (soul longing), kama (physical longing) and moksha (longing for spiritual liberation). These petals are also symbolic of four specific aspects of higher consciousness: great joy, natural pleasure, delight in controlling passion, and blissfulness in concentration.

All of this can be a bit heavy, philosophical and theoretical. As a highly visual person, I simply find delight in the grace and beauty of the Hindu symbols for the chakras. I like the balance of simplicity and complexity. I appreciate the attempts of ancient and modern artists to depict energy patterns which may be very real but are unseen and unproven for most of us.

Square Base of the Root Chakra Symbol

Most interpretations of the typical Hindu symbol for the base chakra are that the central square represents stability. This chakra provides the foundation upon which the other chakras rest. The upside-down triangle is an alchemical symbol for the earth, often interpreted as a grounded energy.

As mentioned above, the base chakra can be seen as connected with your personal and ancestral history. These are the roots that can either bind you to the earth in a negative sense or give you a strong base and presence in the world. A balanced and strong base chakra affords the ability to stand your ground and feel safe in the world.

Root Chakra Meaning and Hindu Deities

Indra, King of Heaven and the Sky
Illustration by Rose Karlsen

See art and gifts featuring Hindu deities.

The deities Indra, Brahma 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.

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.

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.

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.

Full article on Ganesha, mantra and video here.

Essential Oils for the Root Chakra

Essential oils have an ancient history of use in religious rituals as well as for medicinal purposes. What I personally appreciate about essential oils is that they actually operate on many levels: physical, emotional and spiritual.

I have been using essential oils for over a decade. They have simply become part of my daily life for maintaining healthy skin, alleviating muscle soreness from exercise, and for lifting my spirits!

Essential oils are volatile, meaning they evaporate easily. They also affect into the sense of smell, which is part of the limbic system. This is where memories and emotions are often stored in the brain.

Imbalances in the root chakra can appear as anxiety disorders, nightmares, and fears about safety and security. A strong root chakra is also important for the health of the colon, bladder, lower back, legs and feet.

Although recommendations may vary, the following essential oils are generally associated with helping to balance and heal the root chakra. These oils can be diffused or used in conjunction with chanting, meditation, affirmations or prayer.

Clove: creates warmth and familiarity, dispelling fears
Rosemary: energizes the environment and assists with mental and emotional clarity
Cypress: stimulates ease, assists in the removal of mental blocks
Black Pepper: soothes anxiety
Vetiver: dispels negativity and restlessness

Rosemary Essential Oil for Root Chakra
Cloves Essential Oil for the Root Chakra

Root Chakra Meaning and Healing Stones

Stones believed to positively influence the root chakra are Bloodstone, Jasper and Red Coral. Bloodstone is a specific form of Jasper, originally called the Sun Stone and later Christ’s Stone, symbolizing the blood of Christ. In other traditions, this stone is associated more generally with blood as the fundamental energy of life.

Bloodstone represents vitality, passion and courage. This stone’s connection to blood purification dates back five thousand years to Mesopotamia.

According to folk medicine, bloodstone is particularly valued as a means to stop the flow of blood and to heal any wound. Bloodstone has been ground into powered and mixed with honey to melt tumors, draw snake venom and staunch hemorrhages.

Red Coral is technically not a gemstone, but it was used extensively in ancient civilizations for medicinal purposes. Like its sister from the sea, the pearl, this stone is comprised mostly of calcium.

Red Coral is purported to enhance fertility, calm the mind, and strengthen the skeleton. Red Coral invokes passion and romance. Red coral is grounding for the root chakra, helping to focus energy on the completion of goals and projects.

Red Coral is the stone of optimism, bringing good luck and pleasant dreams. Other stones for the root chakra include Red Jasper, Carnelian, and Obsidian.

Bloodstone Root Chakra Meaning


Red Coral

Summary of Root Chakra Meaning

Name: Muludhara
Function: establishes a connection to the physical body, the earth, and the environment
Deities: Brahma, Indra, Ganesh, Dakini
Natural Element: Earth
Healing Stones: Bloodstone, Tiger’s Eye
Essential Oils: Rosemary, Cloves, Black Pepper

Root Chakra Definitions and Symbol

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.

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Author Kathleen Karlsen

Vocal Medicine reveals Kathleen Karlsen’s personal journey with mantras, chanting and kirtan. Benefit from Kathleen’s years of research into the power of sacred music. Topics include:

  • Achieve improved emotional health through mantras
  • Create a happy brain through singing
  • Extensive discussion of sound and the chakras
  • Connections between sound, color and healing

186 pages, $15.95
30 Illustrations

Chakra Art & Gifts

Chakra symbol artwork, coffee mugs and more featuring meditative symbols based on the ancient Hindu tradition. Unique inspirational artwork. Produced in the United States. Flat rate shipping $4.95 per order (US only), unlimited items. Wholesale pricing available on request.