The Baptisms and the Chakras: A Comparison of 2 Nephi 31:13 and Kundalini Yoga (Part 2 of 7)
Svadisthana (The Sacral Chakra)
With the second chakra—located in the genital region and associated with sexuality, desire, and, most relevantly, water—we finally come to the verse with which this paper is concerned. Jung explicitly associates the svadisthana chakra with the Christian ritual of baptism in his lectures on Kundalini Yoga when he says:
"The way out of our muladhara existence leads into the water...Therefore, the very first demand of a mystery cult always has been to go into water, into the baptismal font. The way into any higher development leads through water, with the danger of being swallowed by the monster…So one would call the second cakra the cakra or mandala of baptism, or of rebirth, or of destruction—whatever the consequences of baptism may be."
In Jungian terminology, with the Sacral Chakra we first enter into the waters of what is termed “the unconscious.” And so when our Book of Mormon verse says that we should “[follow our] Lord and [our] Savior down into the water,” perhaps it means more than a simple exhortation to fulfill the literal ordinance of baptism. Not to say that this ordinance isn’t important, of course, but rather to suggest that, like any ordinance, the physical act of submersion corresponds to and symbolizes an event with repercussions in spiritual reality. Specifically, we could suppose that baptism as a spiritual event refers to a descent into the chaos and unformed-ness of water—in other words, our first encounter with a part of our existence that is fluid enough to escape our grasp and evade our control.
To progress from muladhara to svadisthana, then, involves a recognition that not everything is fixed, that some things do not fit my vision of the world as hospitable to my desires. I can hold a rock in my hand, yes; however, I cannot easily do the same with water. Likewise, though I can trust in the security of muladhara existence, the svadisthana phenomena of (maybe sexual) desire, (perhaps unrequited) love, and (occasionally insatiable) hunger catch me off guard; like a rushing river, they “sweep me off my feet” and risk drowning me. A baptism of water, then, causes me to purposefully submerge myself beneath the water of my unconscious, of the intangibility of my feelings. So doing, I move past the risk of drowning by willingly undergoing a symbolic drowning, one in which I escape alive. Baptism is thus not only a “similitude of the grave,” but also a similitude of Jonah’s whale, Peter’s lack of faith on the Sea of Galilee, or even Noah’s flood, in which one escapes from oceanic disaster by a hairsbreadth but nevertheless emerge as a new person.
Moreover, as with any ascension from one chakra to another, it constitutes a motion on the part of Kundalini from lower to higher. In this case, she begins to “step out from the shadows” of the literal things in the (Muladhara) world—perhaps making me want something I can’t easily afford, have a crush on someone out of my league, or lust after an action that is sinful at present. Though these experiences are extremely frustrating, perhaps we can read them more positively as the initial impetus of my inner divinity to have me recognize my idolatry of the things in the world and begin to see divinity for what it is, and not to lust endlessly after it in worldly things that can never satisfy my desires.