Nãda Upãsanã, Gãndharva Vidyã And Manipuri Dance

The Kundalini, when it is dormant, is symbolized by a serpent coiled into three and a half circles and spiraling around the central axis at the base of the spine. This is known as the Swayambhulinga.

While the Kurdalini is dormant, the energies of the human body are drawn downwards towards the lower centres. As a result the vital energies of the body continue to decrease. Once the Kundalini is awakened and starts its upward journey through the psychic centres towards the fontanel, and reaches the Ajñã chakra, there is no fear of reversal of this state; the Kundalini continues upwards. The Ajñã chakra is also called the Third Eye of Shiva. From here the Kundalini rises to the fontanel, where it reaches the Sahasrãra chakra, also referred to as Kailasha, the abode of Lord Shiva.

The rising of the Kundalini is synonymous with the Lasya dance and the associated throbbing of the Swayambhulinga can be likened to the Tãndava dance. To quote Sir John Woodroffe : "The Universe of immovable and movable things is linked together and pervaded by this Shakti, which is Dhvani. It is this Shakti, which is called by such names as Nãda, Prãna, Jivaghosha and so forth.”

Sir John Woodroffe, in his translation of Shãrdã Tilaka, has written “Shabda Brãhman exists in all things as consciousness. So it is this Shabda Brahman which exists in the bodies of living beings in the form of Kundalini.”

Lord Shiva is a great scientist, with mastery over several subjects, as described earlier. His discovery of Nãda, development of Tantra, music and dance lend credence to the legend that Gãndharva Vidya was imparted to the inhabitants of the North Easterly state of Manipur so that they could realise Brahman.

The legend of the creation of Manipur

The Manipur Purãna has a legend regarding the creation of Manipur. In the beginning, all was water. The nine Gods — the Laipunthão — and seven Goddesses — the Lãinurãsa — created sixty-four islands. This was the first land in Manipur. One day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati descended on Udaygiri mountain to perform Rãsa. However the tip of Udaygiri (Nungmaiching) was still below water level. So Lord Shiva pierced the surrounding mountain walls with his trident and drained the water, thus creating Manipur.

Geological evidence supports the myth of the creation of Manipur. Some parts of Manipur, Tripura, the Garo mountains and Bengal were earlier covered by water. Due to geological disturbances around 100 million years ago, sections of the Indian subcontinent were inundated while others were raised above sea level. Manipur was amongst the latter. Even after parts of Manipur were raised above sea level, for several millennia a substantial portion remained submerged (History of Manipur by Jyotirmoy Roy).

Currently Manipur covers an area of 8456 square miles, but early Manipuri history describes a far larger area. In the east it was bordered by China and Burma (Myanmar), in the South by the Sea, in the North East by Hidimbapur (today known as Dimapur) and Moran. According to Hsuen Tsang the great traveller, as quoted in Kamakhyatantra, Manipur was part of Kamarup desh — what is today Assam. Sir James Johnston has stated that “the early history of Manipur is lost in obscurity but there can be no doubt that it existed as an independent kingdom from an early period".