--> Skip to main content

Granthi In Hinduism – A Knot - Hridaya Granthi

Granthi is a concept that one encounters in many forms in Hinduism. In spiritual discourse, avidya granthi means ‘the knot of ignorance’ and hridaya granthi means “the knot of ignorance” (hridaya meaning ‘heart’). It is the abode of the intellect. Thus it is said in Katha Upanishad that, “when the granthis or knots, of the heart are dissolved, then one becomes immortal. That is the essence of the teachings of the Vedas” (II.3.15). Adi Shankaracharya in his commentary, has explained that the word hridaya granthi means the illusory notions of buddhi (intellect), such as “I am the body”, “This is mine”, “I am happy, unhappy,” and so on; with the dissolution of such notions, the true nature of the soul is realized.

The word hridayagranthi also appears in Mundaka Upanishad (II. 2.8) in the same sense. It states: “When one realizes the transcendental reality in Brahman, the hridayagranthi is broken, all doubts are resolved, and past deeds become ineffective.”

In the texts of hatha yoga, the concept of three granthis is mentioned. The knot of Brahma is said to be situated inside the “heart lotus” (IV.70), the knot of Vishnu Bhagavan in the ‘lotus’ at the point between the eyebrows (IV.76). The hatha yoga text Hatha Yoga Pradipika (II.66) explains how bhastrika (heavy, rapid expiration), a variety of pranayama (breathing), a kind of Yoga practice, is especially recommended for loosening the three knots, resulting in a quick arousal of the dormant kundalini power. Liberation is achieved when these three knots are untied.

In Sacakranirupana, Verse 3, the place of granthisthana (basic knot), which must be released, is said to be the base of the spine.

Another definition for Granthi in Hinduism is the illusory unification of the sentient self with the insentient prakriti due to avidya (ignorance) is called granthi (knot) of insentience and consciousness.

In the Hindu philosophical discipline of Yogashastra, granthi (knot) also refers to the blocks in the human vertebral column which impede the movement of kundalini (man’s spiritual power), from moving upwards in the spine. These granthis are termed Brahma granthi, Vishnu granthi and Rudra granthi. They are also called meru granthi, prana granthi and hridaya granthi.

The awakening of kundalini is the primary aim of Yogashastra. The sadhaka (aspirant) follows various directives for awakening of his kundalini. However, without proper knowledge of human anatomy we cannot progress in one’s effort in this direction.

Brahma granthi situated above muladhara and swadhisthana chakras is stiff and thick, but is melted by high radiation of kundalini with difficulty, as kundalini moves up.

 Vishnu granthi which is situated above manipura chakra and anahata chakra, is also a hard and thick knot. As it breaks through this knot, kundalini develops ten different sounds and melts away the knot and removes all the poisonous fluid in the region.

Rudra granthi is situated above the vishuddha chakra and ajna chakra and is the hardest of the knots. However, through its high power of radiation kundalini melts down this knotand presses ahead, having removed all obstacles.

As Kundalini forces its way through three granthis, the poisonous fluid and bad karmas of the aspirant are destroyed and his mind is opened up by degrees. And, as kundalini reaches  the sahasra padma, thousand petal lotus at the top of the skull, which is the point of contiguity where the individual and the universe meet, the sadhaka (aspirant) attains divine wisdom and realizes the Supreme Spirit.