The Agni Tattva: Element of Fire
Compiled by Guru Tera K. Khalsa, New Mexico, USA
“Just as the heat of the sun makes life possible on Earth, the heat of the agni tattva sustains life in the body. The day this internal fire goes out means death to the individual as surely as this world would die if the sun refused to shine. People with a supremacy of this agni tattva are very vigorous, full of perseverance, and become untiring workers. They have a wonderful capacity for leadership and a directness of manner and speech.” -Yogi Bhajan
Our five-year theme on the five tattvas brings us to the year of the fire element, the agni tattva. According to ancient yogic teachings, human beings are made of the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Each of us maintains a special balance between the tattvasand our mind in order to have a strong body and a unified personality. The quality of our life, our mind, and our health is maintained by the tattvas.
Agni tattva is the fire of the Kundalini energy. It is increased with the practice of Kundalini Yoga. It aids in the digestion and absorption of food in order to provide the whole body with the vital energy needed for survival. Agni tattva burns our karmas, our blocks, and our fears. It gives us the strength of commitment, discipline, will-power, and the ability to carry out our intentions. It is the power to digest, absorb, and assimilate both physically and emotionally. Through the proper use of this element, we learn to fully digest the experiences that we get from life.
Purify and Transform
Fire is an agent of healing and transformation. When fire is present it produces dynamic change and purification. For example, when natural, low-intensity fires burn in the forest, they remove flammable undergrowth without damaging larger trees, and encourage seeds lying dormant within the earth to grow. Agni tattva is the fire which cleanses, transforms, warms, and produces light. It takes matter as fuel and turns it into energy. It can manifest as burnout, or as the radiance experienced in the purifying fire of Kundalini Yoga.
Stoking the Fires of Anger
“You all want to get rid of your anger,” Yogi Bhajan would say. “Get rid of your anger and you won’t be able to digest your food.” He was talking about the agni tattva. The same capacity that causes us to get hot under the collar is what enables us to process food into energy. You can use this capacity to burn others, or to purify yourself.
“Krodh is what you have from fire. You have anger. Mostly you get angry. If you do not get angry, people make you angry. When you are practicing anger, you are practicing insanity. At that time you have no sense of metabolism, you have no sense of self-protection, you have no sense of anything. Anger makes you less than a human, and more of a beast. But on the other hand, if you divert this anger toward your weaknesses, you'll be perfect. Get angry if you do not do what is right. Anger was meant for self-purification. It was not meant to burn others.”
The Third Chakra
The Third Chakra, the navel center, is dominated by the fire element. The Third Chakra is the center of will power, command, and control. It is the reserve energy center. Without a strong Third Chakra, you may have many ideas and good intentions but they may not come to fruition. With a strong Third Chakra, even your slightest intentions begin to manifest.
It is said that the Kundalini energy is initiated from the Third Chakra. The reserve energy at the navel gathers strength, and then goes through two small reserve channels down to the base of the spine and awakens the slumbering Kundalini which lies coiled through the First Chakra. Then the Kundalini energy begins its constant journey of awakening and arousal along the spine.
The stimulation, strengthening, and distribution of energy at the Navel Chakra is a central part of a Kundalini Yoga kriya. When the navel energy flows properly, it coordinates the organs of the body. The eliminative functions are triggered, the energy to support your actions is gathered, and the will to project that energy to support your actions is maintained. Kundalini Yoga provides a multitude of techniques to strengthen, balance, and call on the power of the navel center.
The Spiritual Warrior
The person who has mastered the Third Chakra knows how to initiate and complete an action. That is why the Third Chakra associated with the archetype of the spiritual warrior: one who is able to know one's mission and formulate the energy to act and complete it; to live with commitment, discipline, and stamina; to obey one's highest consciousness and command one's mind and senses.
As spiritual warriors in the Aquarian Age, we cultivate the qualities of living and dying fearlessly. The fear of death blocks our ability to live life fully. The essence of a spiritual warrior is fearlessness, an ability to act with integrity regardless of conditions. Develop the agni tattva and a strong, balanced Third Chakra, and enjoy life as a spiritual warrior—a life of courage, grit, caliber, and fortitude.
The agni tattva is prakasha, the brilliance of the soul, the insight and intuition of the mind, and the presence of awareness. It is the light which gives rise to forms. The agni tattva brings us the insight, will, and leadership needed as we transition into the Aquarian Age.
The agni tattva can help us to harmonize the pulse of the Third Chakra, to transform anger to commitment, and heal mind and body so we can express the soul. Ride this fire with purpose, balance, and grace. Burn through your fears and rise to your highest destiny.