Sushumna is the symbolic passage through which kundalini rises through the chakras. It is generally regarded as starting at mooladhara chakra and ascending in turn through the other higher chakras to sahasrara. However, some scriptures give apparently contradictory information. For example, in the Nigam Tattvasara, a tantric text, it says categorically: "The bony rod (sushumna) goes from the feet to the brahma randhra (entrance to the sahasrara); it is known as the merudanda (literally spine, but meaning sushumna) of the fourteen spheres of being (the fourteen chakras from the patala to the ajna)."
This verse states that sushumna does not start at the mooladhara, but the lowest of the lower chakras, the patala. And this is acceptable for the same reason that the kundalini can abide in patala, mooladhara, manipura or in any other chakra. It depends on definition. The sushumna starts wherever the kundalini is regarded as having its seat. In the Buddhist system, therefore, sushumna can be considered to begin at manipura chakra. In the case of a piece of rock, the sushumna, in a wide sense, can be regarded as beginning at the patala chakra. For the purposes of man in relation to yoga-tantra practices, however, sushumna is considered as starting at the mooladhara chakra1.
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