Granthi is a term from the Vedas that describes contractions in the physiology. These are places where there’s been a trauma, an unwillingness to experience something, or a grasping. They may be stored at the site of the trauma or contraction or may be placed somewhere else. Granthi means knot but these contractions are also called stresses or impurities. They are essentially incomplete experiences yet to be resolved.
Another way of framing them? The seeds of karma or action.
We carry quite a load. I was reading an article by Kavitha Chinnaiyan. She described the 3 primary knots in Tantric philosophy. While we find knots wherever trauma has been stored, these 3 places do seem to be key ones.
From the Lalita Sahasranama (1,000 names of the Divine Mother), they’re named after the deities that create, maintain, and destroy – in this case the I-sense.
– Brahma (creator) Granthi: at the Muladhara or root chakra at the base of the spine. This relates to the lower 3 chakras where vasanas for survival, pleasure, power, domination, and ambition are stored. The I-sense is built from stories on these topics. This also relates to the universal desires for purpose (dharma), comfort (artha), and pleasure (kama). (The 4th is moksha, liberation.)
– Vishnu (maintainer) Granthi: this is right above the Manipura or 3rd solar plexus chakra at the top of the gut. Attachment and aversion are said to reside here, sustaining the I-sense through life’s challenges. When life events support our desires above, the I-sense grows with stories of success. When our desires are thwarted, the I-sense grows through stories of failure. Victor or victim, both make the self-sense stronger.
– Rudra (destroyer, a form of Shiva) Granthi: This one is at the 6th Ajna or third eye chakra, below Makara, just above the middle of the head. Here you get the fog that reduces clarity of the intellect and thus supports ignorance and an inability to see through the stories above. We stay locked in the stories of the ego.
When we work our way through these knots, such as through deep meditation that allows relaxing them, the intensity of entanglement eases and clarity dawns. Then awakening can happen.
The first awakening happens at the “head” as the I-sense is seen through and we shift from identification with a ‘me’ to being the cosmic Self. We break through the fog of the upper knot.
Then there is the descent into the heart in God Consciousness (if the heart is ready for that). And the gut around Unity, though it varies when. I associate Brahman with the root, but that too varies.
It’s worth mentioning the barbecue Loch Kelly described as just before Unity. This directly relates to the Vishnu Granthi and the old resistance. I call this the core identity. I’ve noticed a continued clearing in that area. Nested spaces allow layers and layers of crud to be stashed.
Kundalini Vidya also talks about granthis but frames two of these locations as caps: one on the root chakra, the second above the heart chakra, and the last above Ajna chakra, just below Makara. If the rising shakti meets Makara, it becomes a stable rise and a platform for awakening. (but is not the cause of awakening)
The caps keep the energy down until the aspirant is ready; the first for a kundalini awakening, the second keeps the personal dynamics local, and the last makes the rise permanent.
Clearing the physiology is a multi-layered affair with nested spaces storing much past detritus. What we carry varies widely and how we experience contractions and their resolution also does. This has led to various models and descriptions.
But the essential process is common to all of us. Cleaning house, so we can support a higher clarity and awareness.