Do you know that, in each one of us, there are three knots called granthis?
The inspiration for this article happened during my 28-day fasting called Pachai-pattini vathram (PPV) in 7th March – 3rd Apr 2021. This was my second year taking up this fasting after the inspiration by my Guru, HDH Bhagawan Nithyananda Paramashivam, and I must say the experience had been so amazing. Pachai-pattini Vathram is an annual fasting by Devi Mahamari Amman where she would herself fast for four weeks in order to safeguard the interests of her countless devotees. It was during this period of penance (tapas), so many extraordinary insights about body and yoga got revealed to me that I was inspired to design an 8-part series of Tantra Yoga module. The feedback and breakthroughs the students shared, have been extremely encouraging. Hence, I decided to share about the yogic understanding about the three granthis.
Granthi ग्रन्थि (“knot”) is the energy knot or block in our personality where the energy and consciousness interact and manifest in a particular way. According to the Yogic tradition, there are three granthis: Brahma Granthi, Vishnu Granthi and Rudra Granthi. These three knots prevent the free flow of prana along chakras and prevent the arising of Kundalini energy (inner potential energy). The display of ‘granthis’ are associated with the ‘Trinity’ of Sanatana Hindu Dharma as the presiding deities (Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra). They take the test of the sadhaka (seeker) before they give the way forward.
Now, the first knot- Brahma Granthi, is also known as the perineal knot. It is the lowest knot covering the area of Muladhara (root chakra) and Swadhisthana (second chakra) where primitive brain functioning like the “fight or flight reflexes” guarantee survival. It is linked with the urge to procreate and with deep, instinctive knowledge, awareness and desires of sex. It is known as blockage of Brahma because it holds our consciousness at the level which is related to the desires of the physical dimensions like sensuality, sex, procreation and the instinctive urge to survive.
If you are experiencing any of these patterns, that is Brahma Granthi:
- When you experience fear in an asana like handstand or split, the fear itself prevents success.
- A lack of spare time for self can be part of this knot when your bills and rent payment keep you at work and away from yoga
- Inability to transcend to the soul’s purpose while getting stuck in the basic urges of sense pleasure and survival
Once this blockage is removed from the realm of consciousness and energy, instincts of the deep rootedness and energy are released. The Kundalini Shakti (the inner potential energy) begins to rise beyond the Muladhara and Swadhisthana without being bogged down by the attractions to which our consciousness is hooked. Lord Brahma gives the way.
From Hatha Yoga Pradipika 4.69 – “When the Brahma Granthi (in the heart) is pierced through by Pranayama, then a sort of happiness is experienced in the vacuum of the heart, and the anahata sounds, like various tinkling sounds of ornaments, are heard in the body.”
Sampūrnahrdayahśūnya ārambhe yogavānbhavet
The students are prepared by a combination of intellectual understanding, yogasanas (postures), pranayama (Yogic breathing techniques) to break each granthi.
Next, the second knot – Vishnu Granthi, is also known as the navel knot. It covers the area between Manipuraka (navel chakra), Anahata (heart chakra) & vishuddhi (throat chakra). Vishnu Granthi knots energy between Manipukra Chakra and Anahata Chakra. This Granthi represents a knot of individual ego and power. Our clinging to ego, self-cherishing and the quest for personal power can slow one’s spiritual success. Fear of being ignored or of losing prestige may plague our spiritual growth. This is a knot of power and manipulation; it is also the knot of accumulation. Accumulation of power, possessions, name and fame, all that tie us to this level of consciousness. In order to transcend this level of consciousness, the shift from the love of power to the power of love needs to happen for a seeker. The degree of vulnerability that we show in life i.e., the ability to let go of our façade and challenge our own status quo, unties Vishnu Granthi.
Once the Vishnu granthi blockage is removed, we begin to draw energy to sustain ourselves from the universe and not from the localized centers of body like lungs. The energies of the body become harmonious with the energies of the Cosmos. The interaction between the individual personality and the Cosmos begins to happen naturally and spontaneously. Lord Vishnu gives the way.
From Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 4.72 – “By this means the Vishnu knot (in the throat) is pierced which is indicated by highest pleasure experienced, and then the Bherî sound (like the beating of a kettle drain) is evolved in the vacuum in the throat.”
Atiśūnyevimardaścha bherīśabdastadā bhavet
Now, the third knot – Rudra Granthi, is also known as the forehead knot. It covers the areas of Ajna (brow chakra) and Sahasrara (crown chakra). It represents the transformation of an existing form, idea or concept into the universal aspect. Here, there is a breaking away of the old, the ego awareness, the “I” awareness, the mental awareness, the physical awareness and an evolving of the sixth sense or the eye of intuition, as the third eye of Lord Shiva.
The sixth sense and beyond is the state where the omniscient nature of consciousness is experienced, where the past, present and future become known. With that omniscient awareness, in hand we move on to Sahasrara, where the final merger of the individual soul or Atman with the universal, cosmic soul (Paramatma), takes place.
We must strive to transcend otherness and experience the “Oneness of being” in the highest level of consciousness, and then complete the circle by bringing that consciousness into our compassionate actions. When we are free from the illusion of otherness, our actions emerge spontaneously from Love. Jalandhara Bandha enables this leap of consciousness.
The consummate consolidation of prana is Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock for the network of nadis in the neck) when the pancha pranas – Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vayu in Sushumna Nadi loosen Rudra Granthi, and the veil of separation is lifted.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika. 4.75 – “When the Rudra granthi is pierced, and the air enters the seat of the Lord (the space between the eyebrows), then the perfect sound like that of a flute is produced.”
From the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, it states that:-
yada jagarti kundali
Tada sarvani padmani
bhidyante ghranthayo’pi ca
Translation – When the dormant Kundalini is aroused by the grace of the Guru, then alone all the padmas (lotuses meaning chakras) and the granthi (knots) are opened.
Fundamentally, the flowering of Yoga orginates from the Guru-shishya parampara (tradition), hence the grace of an enlightened Guru is needed for one to break the granthis by the initiation into Kundalini awakening and various spiritual processes. From my personal experience, every seeker who sincerely wants to transcend his/her consciousness, untying the knots of the three granthis is an essential part of the spiritual evolution. Namaste 😀