THE CHAKRA SYSTEM – Introduction to the System of Chakras
The word ‘chakra’ has many meanings, viz., the wheel of a carriage, a potter’swheel, an astronomical circle, a circular weapon, an army, a form of militaryarray, etc. It has also been used in a more specific sense. There are some specialchakras used for the selection of an appropriate mantra for initiation, namely,Kulakula-chakra, akathaha-chakra, akadama-chakra, etc.
Special chakras are alsoused in relation to worship, as, for example, kurma-chakra. In our study here, achakra is an organization which is circular in form, having a specific centre. It issituated within the body, not as a part of the gross body, but as a supramaterialpower-form. It is imprinted undetectably in the body.
Sushumna is extremely fine and,turning from right to left, it extends from muladhara to brahmarandhra (—Bhutashuddhitantra, ch. 6, p. 5). From this it is clear that the nadi system belongsto the subtle body, it is not a part of the material body. The chakras are within thesushumna nadi. So it is said: ‘Inside it (sushumna) is the extremely subtlechitrini nadi which is divine in character and is in the form of letters(matrikaunits), and in which are strung the six chakras.
More clearly, ‘Inside the sushumna is the shining nadi namedwojra, and inside it is the subtle chitrini through which Kundali passes; thebeautiful six lotuses (chakras) are in this nadi. So the chakras are subtle centres within the innermost force-line ofsushumna. They do not belong to the material body, and therefore they are notseen.The material body is the effect of the metamorphosis of the basic energywhich is made to operate on the surface stratum due to the influence of prana-force. That basic energy is entirely matterfree and active in the substratum, but isendowed with a specific quality which, under certain condition, gives it an inertial character.
This basic energy exhibits a circular wave motion which isreducible to a subtle infinitesimal point. This energy pattern is the tanmatra-mahabhuta forces which exist in five forms.
The fifth mahabhuta, prithiwi (earthmetamatter) force on the surface stratum exhibits its inertial quality and, as aresult, energy appears in a conjugated form—energy particles. But energy mayappear also as free from particles. Here, the prithiwi factor becomes latent, andthe teshs (fire metamatter) factor patent.
Under this condition, energy appears asthermal, luminous or electrical. In the energy transformation, the ap (watermetamatter) factor plays an important role and is associated with the chemicalform of energy and energy as waves.The tanmatra-mahabhuta forces create inorganic matter, in which theinfluence of prana-force plays a most important role.
Prana-force, appearing aswayu-forces, operates in relation to tanmatra-mahabhuta forces to create livingmatter. The creation of a living organized body is impossible without the wayu-forces being involved in combination with the basic tanmatra-mahabhuta forces.
The chemical changes in the body are not able to create a living body, but theyare an indication of and concomitant with life-force activities in the body. Theinoperativeness of pranic forces makes the chemically intact body a corpse.Nothing can alter it. Different forms of energy—thermal, mechanical, electrical—which are active in a living body are entirely dependent on the operation ofthe pranic forces; they themselves cannot create living matter, or atomic energy.
Energy in a more refined form appears as electrical. Energy associated with the elementary particles and radiation is electrical in nature. In muscular contraction,conduction of nerve impulses and cerebral activities, the electrical form ofenergy is manifested. But the pranic force is neither thermal, mechanical norelectrical; it is supramaterial.
There must be a level at which energy becomes non-electrical in nature and is completely released from any material bondage.The living brain substance is associated with chemical energy, and electricalenergy is patent in the cerebral activities. But there is no possibility of havingeither the vital force or consciousness manifested in the brain, unless there is asource of energy which is nonmaterial.
The material body is living because the wayu-forces are operating in itssubstance in an intrinsic manner, but their centres of operation do not lie in it;they are beyond the matter-energy field; they are in the substratum. When thewayu-forces are withdrawn from the material substance, the body appears aslifeless and without consciousness. This inoperativeness of wayu-forces in thematerial body does not make them vanish. In the substratum, they function in asubtle organization—the immaterial subtle body—in which consciousness isheld without material substancc.
The truth of this statement is demonstrated by what is called ‘Parasharirawesha’ (entering into another’s body). A yogi canleave his own body by volition, and can enter into a body which is recently dead.When he leaves his own body, it becomes dead, and a dead body becomes alivewhen he enters into it. This superpower was exhibited by the well-knownShaṅkaracharya.
The nadi-field has been created by the matter free wayu-force-motionlines. The wayu-forces are in motion in this field, and gliding as piṅgala-current tovitalize the material body on the one side, and, on the other, as ida-current itmakes the mind operate. There is a central power-line called sushumna whichexercises its control over ida and piṅgala flows, and in which the centralizationof the wayu-forces has occurred.
The wayu-forces are constantly oozing fromthe sushumna centres causing the ida-piṅgala currents. In these centres, thecentrifugal wayu-forces can be controlled and harmonized, and can also bestopped.The basic part of the sushumna centres are tanmatra-mahabhuta forces. Eachcentre consists of two parts—the centre itself and a peripheral aspect.
The centreis an infinitesimal point which, from a material point of view, is zero. This pointin the substratum is a power concentrated to its highest degree, which arisesfrom the primary inertia-principle (tamas), and is called tanmatra-force. Thisforce is in the nature of germmantra. The tanmatra-force, being transformed intomahabhuta-force, appears as circular radiant energy emitting certainmatrikaunits. This is the peripheral aspect. This is a sushumna centre and istermed chakra.
There are five lower chakras in the sushumna which are formedof tanmatra-mahabhuta forces. The chakras are stabilized by the tanmatra-mahabhuta forces, because of their inertial nature. The inertia! factor is morepronounced in prithiwi (earth metamatter)-force, wave character in ap(watermetamatter)-force. brilliance and power in tejas (fire metamatter)-force, andhighly purified energy is in wayu(air metamatter)-force. The akasha(void)-force is the base.
The chakras form a system in the sushumna. The chakra system has beendescribed both in the Upanishads and Tantras. There are also fragmentarydescriptions of the chakras in the Puranas. This indicates that the subject is veryancient and was widely known in ancient India.Pouranika Fragments on the Chakras
The thousand-petalled chakra, called sahasrara, is the first centralized power ofpranawa emitted by Kundalini in her Shabdabrahman aspect, and in her supremeaspect she is one with Supreme Consciousness as Supreme Kundalini. It hasbeen stated: ‘From the navel of Narayana (Supreme Consciousness), lying ininfinite water (in samadhi), arose a lotus with a large number (that is, one-thousand) of petals lustrous like ten-million suns’ (—Shiwapurana, 1.2. 34–6).
Here, the origin of sahasrara has been stated. It has been more clearly stated:‘The imperishable great lord Hari (Supreme Consciousness) who is the creatorof the whole universe, while lying in infinite water, produced a finitephenomenon; he created a lotus from his navel, which contains 1000 petals, andis pure, golden and shines like the sun’ (—Padmapurana, 1.39. 152–3).
The greatrishi Sanatkumara stated: ‘That lotus which is at the highest part is yellow andshines like the sun and the moon’ (—Shiwapurana, 4.40.26).
That lotus issahasrara. It has been stated: ‘The Supreme Power (in the form of Mahalakshmi)is in the pericarp of the thousand-petalled lotus’ (—Dewibhagawata, 9.42.8).Concentration should be done on Mahalakshmi in sahasrara. Also, ‘Eternal,splendorous, lotus-eyed Brahma, arising from primus, sat in the thousand-petalled lotus’ (—Mahabharata, 12. 331. 21).Sahasrara is the centre where concentration is developed intosuperconcentration (samadhi).
Concentration is first made on Guru (God inform) in a white twelve-petalled lotus which is a part of sahasrara. It is stated:‘Getting up from bed in the early morning and changing dress, one shouldconcentrate on Guru in the subtle, pure and life-giving thousand-petalled lotuswhich is in relation to brahma-line (-randhra)’ (—Brahmawaiwartapurana, 1.26.5–6). It has been said here that sahasrara is a subtle centre, that is, it isextramaterial and endowed with prana-force. Concentration on Ishtadewata alsois done on hritpadma or sahasrara. So it is stated: ‘Concentrate on Ishtadewata inhritpadma or the great pure white thousand-petalled lotus (chakra)’ (—ibid.,1.26.8). Sahasrara is the centre where there is spiritual splendour. It has beensaid : ‘In ancient time, Indra was able to “see” the spiritual splendour in thethousand-petalled padma by the japa of germmantra given by his guru’ (—ibid., 4.21.174).
About ajña chakra, it has been stated: ‘Ajña where concentration is done onSupreme Brahman (inform) is from Supreme Power’ (—Shiwapurana, 5 b. 8.7).Ajña chakra is in the form of energy, the source of which is Supreme Power. Soajña and other chakras are power-centres. Four chakras have been mentioned in atechnical manner by Maitreya in describing the yoga process adopted by Sanwhen she desired to abandon her physical body. Maitreya stated:
‘Assuming a(yoga) posture over which she had full control. Sat; executed the pranayamicmethod of control of prana and apana wayus in the nabhichakra (that is,manipura chakra); then she raised slowly the udana wayu in pranayama withconcentration to hrit (that is, hrit or anahata chakra), and then she conducted itthrough the kantka (that is, wishuddha chakra) to the bhrumadhya (the spacebetween the eyebrows, that is, ajñachakra)’ (—Bhagawata, 4.4.25).Of 1000 names of Shiwa stated by God Wishnu, there are three names whichare after three chakras.
They are: Swadhishthanapadashraya (the support of theposition of the swadhishthana chakra), Manipura, Hritpundarikamasinah (seatedin the hrit chakra) (—Shiwapurana, 1.71. 69–70). The muladhara chakra hasbeen mentioned here: ‘Starting from muladhara’ (—ibid., 2.11.40). In explainingpranawa (Ong), Ishwarasaid: ‘Oh Parwati! adhara (muladhara), manipura,hridaya (hrit or anahata chakra), wishuddhi (wishuddha), ajña, shakti, shanti andshantyatzta are in due order the seats of pranawa, and of all seats shantyatda isthe highest; only he who is intensely passionless is fit for it’ (—ibid., 3.3. 27–9).
Here, the swadhishthana chakra has not been mentioned. However, there are ninechakras if swadhishthana is included. Shakti, shanti and shantyatita are the newterms which are not common. Shakti chakra may stand for manas, shanti forindu and shantyatita for sahasrara.Rishi Upamanyu gave a description of the chakras. He said: ‘Making the bodycompletely motionless with bioenergy fully controlled, worship Shiwa andShakti with concentration seated in hrit padma (chakra) within the body.
Concentration should also be done in mula (the perineal region, that is,muladhara), nasagra (the tip of the nose), nabhi (navel, that is, manipura), kantha(throat, i.e. wishuddha), talurandhra (lalana chakra), bhrumadhya (ajña),dewadashanta (brahmarandhra, that is nirwana chakra) and murdhan (highestpart, that is, sahasrara) . . . In dwidala (a chakra with two petals, that is ajña),shodashara (sixteen-petalled chakra, that is wishuddha), dwadashara (twelve-petalled chakra, that is anahata), dashara (ten-petalled chakra, that is manipura),shadasra (six-petalled swadhishthana chakra) or chaturasra (four-petalledmuladhara), concentration should be done on Shiwa.
In the space between theeyebrows (that is, intracerebral region), there is a lotus (chakra) with two petals shining like lightning; the petals contain two matrikaletters (“Hang” and“Kshang”), arranged from the right to the left.‘
The sixteen-petalled chakra contains 16 matrikaletters (from ‘Ang’ to ‘Ah’),arranged from the right. The (twelve-petalled) lotus which is as bright as the sunis in the heart region; the matrikaletters from “Kang” to “Thang” are on itspetals, arranged from the right; concentration should be done here. In the navelregion within the spinal column, there is a milkwhite lotus (ten-petalled) whichcontains in its petals the matrikaletters from “Dang” to “Phang” in due order.The lotus with 6 petals, with its face down, and red, contains the matrikalettersfrom “Bang” to “Lang” in its petals. The golden coloured muladhara containsthe matrikaletters from “Wang” to “Sang” in due order in its (four) petals’ (—Shiwapurana, 5 b. 29. 130–40).
Here, the following chakras have beenmentioned: muladhara, swadhishthana, manipuraka, hrit or anahata, wishuddha,laiana, ajña, nirwana and sahasrara. Practically the whole chakra system hasbeen briefly described.It has been stated: ‘Upawarhana, at first, passed through the muladhara,swadhishrtana, manipuraka, anahata, wishuddha and ajña—these six chakras’(—Brahmawaiwartapurana 1.13. 13). Here, the regular six chakras have beenmentioned.
Furthermore, ‘Brahma controlled by yoga (that is, breathcontrol andconcentration) with great care the six nadis (power-lines), viz., ida, sushumna,medhya, piṅgala, nalini and budha, and six chakras, viz., muladhara,swadhishthana, manipuraka, anahata, wishuddha and ajña’ (—ibid., 4.20.27–8).It indicates that there was a yoga process to control the nadis (power-motion-lines) and the six chakras. Krishna said:
‘After achieving control over longings,senses, hunger and thirst, and effecting the internal purification and thepurification of the nadis (superpurification of the power system), and piercingthrough the chakras, concentration should be done on Supreme Being unittedwith Kundalini-power. The six chakras are: muladhara, swadhishthana,marapura, anahata wishuddha and ajña’ (—ibid., 4.110.8–10). It has beendisclosed here that concentration on Supreme Consciousness united with Kundalini is effective when the control of the body by exercise and ascesis,control of the senses and desires by sensory control, internal purification of thebody and the purification of the nadis, and the piercing of the chakras are done.
The piercing of the chakras means the rousing of Kundalini and her conduction through the chakras to sahasrara where concentration should be done.Here is a technical exposition of the chakras. It has been stated:
‘Concentrating for a brief period on Supreme Power in the six chakras, thepractitioner should concentrate on her in the chakra with 16 petals in which arelocated the matrikaletters from “Ang” to “Ah”, and thereafter japa should be commenced with malamantra (special mantra given in initiation).
At the space between the eyebrows where lies the borders of the three nadis, and is known asthe junction of the three power-lines, there is a centre which is red, hexagonaland magnified to four-fingers’ breadth; it is called by the yogis ajña chakra.
In the region of the throat, the three nadis—sushumna, ida and piṅgala form acoiling which is hexagonal and magnified to six-fingers’ breadth, where lies thecentre, belonging to six-chakras, which is white, sixteen-petalled, magnified toseven-fingers’ breadth, and contain (the matrikaletters from) “Ang” (to “Ah”).
The expert yogis make concentration and japa of mantra in this chakra. The threenadis are united in the heart region’ (—Kalikapurana, 55. 28–33). Here only twochakras are mentioned: ajña and wishuddha.
All six chakras are suitable forconcentration. The wishuddha chakra is suitable for both concentration and japa.The chakras are magnified to a certain extent which is necessary for thought-concentration in the earlier stages.In another technical exposition of the chakras, it has been stated:
‘The practitioner should concentrate on an excellent lotus situated three-fingers’breadth below the navel point (at the perineal point, that is, the lotus is situatedwithin the coccyx and is called muladhara), having (in its pericarp) a region witheight corners or five corners.
There is a triangle (inside the region) which is inthe nature of fire, moon and sun. Concentration, according to one’s power, maybe done in this order: triangle of sun, of moon, and of fire, or triangle of fire, ofsun, and of moon according to the process instructed. He should think that thereare spiritual action, spiritual knowledge, unaffectedness and yoga-power in thelower part of fire. He should think in due order of the three primary attributes(gunas) in the region of the lotus.
Then he should concentrate on Rudra (aspecific divine form) who is united with his Power lying in relation to theprimary sentience-principle (sattwa). Concentration should be done properly inthe navel region (that is, manipuraka chakra), the throat region (wishuddhachakra), the region between the eyebrows (ajña chakra), the region of theforehead (indu chakra), or at the highest point (that is, void, where liessahasrara). Thought-concentration on Shiwa should be done in the lotus with 2petals (ajña), with 16 petals (wishuddha), with 12 petals (anahata), with 10 petals(manipuraka), with 6 petals (swadhishthana), and with 4 petals (muladhara), inthis order’ (—Lingapurana, 1.8. 92–7). Most of the chakras—muladhara,swadhishthana, manipuraka, anahata, wishuddha, ajña, indu and sahasrara—have been mentioned here. A new technical description of the muladhara chakra hasbeen given.
That the chakras are the specific centres for the practice ofconcentration has been disclosed.Again, ‘Worship (with concentration) (to Shiwa) is done outside the body, and also in the square region (muladhara), the six-cornered (lotus, termedswadhishthana), the ten-cornered (or ten-petalled lotus, that is manipura), thetwelve-petalled (lotus, that is anahata), the sixteen-petalled (lotus, that iswishuddha) and the triangle (ajña) (within the body)’ (—ibid., 1.75.35).Furthermore, ‘Those who are spiritually advanced, worship Shiwa, the greatmaster of yoga, with godly love (bhakti) and spiritual concentration (shubhayoga) in the six-petalled lotus (swadhishrtana). He who ‘sees’ Shiwa in thetriangle (ajña) . . . becomes absorbed into him’ (—ibid., 1.75. 38–9). It has beenstated: ‘Immortal Shiwa who is joyous in his self is in thedwadashantabrahmarandhra (that is, nirwana chakra), the point between theeyebrows (ajña), the palate region (lalana), the throat region (wishuddha) and theheart region (anahata), in this order’ (—ibid., 2.21.28). Here, nirwana and lalanahave been mentioned along with other chakras.The system of chakras as explained by Dewi is as follows: ‘There is a lotuswhich has 4 petals of molten gold (that is red). On the petals are (thematrikaunits) “Wang”, “Shang”, “Shang” and “Sang” which are yellow. It has asix-cornered region. It is the basic centre (mula) and the support (adhara) (ofKundalini), so it is called muladhara.
This is a centre for concentration.‘Above it is an excellent (lotus called) swadhishthana with 6 petals which arelike fire (that is red). On the petals are (the matrikaunits) “Bang”, “Bhang”,“Mang”, “Yang”, “Rang” and “Lang” of the lustre of a diamond. The nameswadhishthana is from “swa” to mean Supreme Shiwa in an apprehensible form(liṅga) (that is, this lotus is the seat of Shiwa in form, so it is calledswadhishthana).‘Above it, in the navel region, is splendorous manipura which is dark like acloud (that is, black) shining like lightning. It is of power. It has 10 petals onwhich are 10 letters from “Dang” to “Phang” (that is, the 10 matrikaunits; andthey are like lightning; the shining effects on the petals are due to this).
This lotus is like a blooming gem, so it is called manipadma. Deity Wishnu is in thislotus. Here it is possible to “see” Wishnu (by concentration).‘Above it is the anahata lotus (chakra) with 12 petals which are red like therising sun and on which are the 12 letters from ‘kang’ to ‘Thang’. Within it is inliṅga-form (a form effective for concentration) Bana (a form of Shiwa) who issplendorous like ten-thousand suns. This lotus is called by the yogi’s anahatabecause here arises that sound which is nonsensory and is in the nature ofShabdabrahman. In this lotus is Supreme Being (in appropriate form) and it isthe abode of bliss.‘Above it is the lotus named wishuddha with 16 petals of smokecolour onwhich are the 16 matrikaunits form ‘Ang’ to ‘Ah’ of great lustre. The
superpurification of the embodied being occurs in this lotus through therealization of divine being, this is why it is called wishuddha. This wonderfullotus is also called akasha (void) (because it is the centre of the void-principle).‘Above it is the beautiful ajña chakra with 2 petals on which are (thematrikaunits) “Hang” and “Kshang”. Here lies the Supreme Being. In this centre,spiritual force passes into the practitioner, so it is called ajña.
‘Above it is what is called kailasa (chakra), and above that is rodhini (chakra).. . . Above it (rodhini) is sahasrara (1000-petalled chakra) in which is the seat ofSupreme Bindu’ (—Dewibhagawata, 7.35.34–47).About the locations of the six chakras, it has been stated: ‘In the perinealregion (adhara = yonisthana), genital region, navel region, heart region, neckregion (talumala = the root of the palate, but here it is kantha = neck—Nilakantha’s commentary) and the eyebrow region (lalata = the forehead, buthere bhrumadhya = the space between the eyebrows—Nilakantha), (are the sixchakras) having 4 petals, 6 petals, 10 petals, 12 petals, 16 petals and 2 petalsrespectively’ (—ibid., 11.1.43). About the regions and mantras of the subtleelements (mahabhutas), it has been said that the ‘earth’ region is square ofgolden (yellow) colour within which is ‘Lang’-bija (germmantra of the samecolour); that the region of ‘water’ is of the shape of a white half-moon, withinwhich is ‘Wang’-bija (of the same colour); that the region of ‘fire’ is triangular inshape and red and encloses ‘Rang’-bija (of the same colour); that the region of‘air’ is circular and smokecoloured and encloses ‘Yang’-bija (of the samecolour); and that the region of ‘void’ (akasha) is circular and is white (ortransparent) in colour, and encloses ‘Hang’-bya (of the same colour) (—ibid.,11.8.3–7).
Concentration on deities in different chakras is an ancient spiritual process andwas practised by the rishs. It has been stated that a group named Kurpadrisha,which followed the rishipath, used to practise concentration on the divine beingin the abdominal region (that is, the manipura chakra), while the Aruni grouppractised concentration on extremely subtle form of God in the heart region(either hrit or anahata chakra), connected with the nadi-system; but the abode ofSupreme Consciousness is in the extracerebral region (parama shiras, that issahasrara) (—Bhagawata, 10. 87.18).There was a process of dharana (holding-concentration) in which the vitalforce is held in different chakras with breathsuspension and concentration. Theholding was done in the chakras with four petals (muladhara), with six petals(swadhishthana), in the navel region (manipura), in the heart region (hrit chakra),(the chakra) in the region of the lungs with twelve petals (anahata), (the chakra)with sixteen petals, in the region of the palate (lalana or talu chakra), the space
between the eyebrows (ajña chakra), and in brahmarandhra in the head (nirwanachakra) (—Skandapurana, 1.2.55. 44–5).
The Pouranika System of ChakrasFrom the descriptions of the chakras given in the Puranas, the Pouranika systemfor chakras emerges. It is as follows:
1 Muladhara. The term ‘muladhara’ has been used in Shiwapurana, 2.11.40;51.29.140; in Brahmawaiwartapurana, 1.13.13; 4.20.28; 4.110. 10; and inDewibhagawata, 7.35.34. It is mentioned indirectly in Shiwapurana, 56.29.131and 134; in Skandapurana, 126.96.36.199; and in Lingapurana, 1.8.92 and 97;1.75.35. Muladhara is also called adhara, Shiwapurana, 3.3.28.
Description. The muladhara chakra is situated in the perineal region (adhara ormula = yonisthana), that is a certain intracoccygeal point. It has four petals of redcolour. On the petals are four matrikaletters ‘Wang’ to ‘Sang’ of yellow colour. Ithas a square region inside. It has also been stated that the region is five-cornered,six-cornered or eight-cornered. However, the region is of ‘earth’, and isgenerally accepted as a square which is yellow in colour, and the ‘earth’germmantra ‘Lang’ which is also yellow resides in the square region. Inside theregion is a triangle which is in the form of fire, moon and sun.
This chakra iscalled muladhara, because it is the basic centre (mula) which is the support(adhara) of Kundalini. It is a centre of thought-concentration and mentalworship.2 Swadhishthana. The term ‘swadhishthana’ has been used in Shiwapurana,1.71.69; in Brahmawaiwartapurana, 1.13.13; 4.20.28; 4.110. 10; and inDewibhagawata, 7.35.35. This chakra is mentioned indirectly in Liṅgapurana,1.8.97; 1.75.35 and 38; in Shiwapurana, 5b. 29.134; and in Skandapurana,188.8.131.52.Description.
The swadhishthana chakra is situated above muladhara, in thegenital region (that is, a certain intrasacral point). It has six petals of red colour.On the petals are six matrikaletters from ‘Bang’ to ‘Lang’ of the lustre of adiamond. In the pericarp is a half-moon-shaped region of ‘water’ of white colourin which is ‘Wang’-bija of white colour. It is also said that the region is six-cornered. It is the seat of Supreme Shiwa in a form effective for concentration,so it is called swadhishthana. It is a centre for thought-concentration and mentalworship.3 Manipura. The term ‘manipura’ has been used in Shiwapurana, 1.71.70;3.3.28; in Brahmawaiwartapurana, 1.13.13; 4.20.28; 4.110.10; and in
Dewibhagawata, 7.35.36. It is indirectly mentioned in Liṅgapurana, 1.8.96 and97; 1.75.35; in Shiwapurana, 5b.29.131 and 134; and in Bhagawata, 10.87.18.This centre is also called nabhi (navel)-chakra (—Bhagawata, 4.4.25).
Description. Manipura is situated above Swadhishthana, in the navel region(that is, a certain intralumbar point). It has 10 petals of dark colour or black colour. On the petals are 10 matrikaletters from ‘Dang’ to ‘Phang’ which are lightning (of lightning colour). In the pericarp, there is a triangular region of‘fire’ of red colour. Within it is the red-coloured ‘Rang’-bija. This chakra hasalso been said to be milkwhite. In that case the petals are white in colour. It is acentre for thought-concentration and mental worship.4 Hrit (-padma).
The hrit chakra has been mentioned in Shiwapurana,5b.29.131; and indirectly in Skandapurana, 184.108.40.206.Description. The lotus (chakra) is situated in relation to the heart (that is, acertain intrathoracispinal point, below anahata and above manipuraka. It haseight petals which are white in colour. Pranic forces are located here. It is asacred place for spiritual concentration (—Lingapurana, 1.86.62–64).5 Anahata. The term ‘anahata’ has been used in Brahmawaiwartapurana,1.13.13;4.20.28; 4.110.10; and in Dewibhagawata, 7.35.39. It is mentionedindirectly in Lingapurana, 1.8.97; 2.21.28; in Bhagawata, 4.4.25; 10.87.18; inSkandapurana, 220.127.116.11; and in Shiwapurana, 5b.29.133.Description. Anahata is situated, above manipura, (and above hrit) in the heartregion (that is, a certain intrathoracispinal point). It has twelve petals of redcolour.
On the petals are twelve matrikaletters from ‘kang’ to ‘Thang’. In thepericarp is the region of ‘air’ which is circular and of smokecolour. In the regionis the smokecoloured ‘Yang’-bija. Within the chakra is splendorous Banaliṅga(Shiwa in a special form which is suitable for concentration and worship). In it is‘heard’ the nonsensory sound (anahata nada) of mantra, so it is called anahata. Itis a centre for thought-concentration and mental worship.6 Wishuddha. The term ‘wishuddha’ has been used in Brahmawaiwartapurana,1.13.13; 4.20.28; 4.110.10; and in Dewibhagawata, 7.35. 42. Another term‘wishuddhi’ (for wishuddha) has been used in Shiwapurana, 3.3.28.
It ismentioned indirectly in Liṅgapurana, 1.8.96 and 97; 1.75.35; 2.21.28; inBhagawata, 4.4.25; in Shiwapurana, 5b.29.131 and 133; in Kalikapurana, 55.28and 33; and in Skandapurana, 18.104.22.168.Description. Above anahata is the wishuddha chakra, situated in the neckregion (that is, a certain intracervicospinal point). It has sixteen petals ofsmokecolour. On the petals are the sixteen matrikaletters from ‘Ang’ to ‘Ah’which are lustrous. In the pericarp, there is the region of ‘void’ (akasha), whichis circular in shape and white in colour (or transparent). The ‘Hang’ bija, which is also white is in this region. This chakra is called wishuddha (which meanspurified), because here spiritual purification of the practitioner occurs throughthe realization of Supreme Being.
It is the centre for thought-concentration, japaand mental worship.7 Talu (chakra). This chakra has been mentioned in Skandapurana, 22.214.171.124;in Liṅgapurana, 2.21.28; and in Shiwapurana, 5b.29.131. The talu chakra hasbeen termed lalana chakra in the Tantras. There is no description of the chakra inthe Puranas.8 Ajña. The term ‘ajña’ has been mentioned in Shiwapurana, 3.3.28; inBrahmawaiwartapurana, 1.13.13; 4.20.28; 4.110.10; in Kalikapurana, 55.30; andin Dewibhagawata, 7.35.44 It is indirectly mentioned in Liṅgapurana, 1.8.96;2.21.28; in Bhagawata, 4.4.25; in Shiwapurana, 5b.29. 132; and inSkandapurana, 126.96.36.199. Ajña has been termed ‘dwidala’, because this chakrahas two petals. Dwidala has been mentioned in Liṅgapurana, 1.8.97; and inShiwapurana, 5b.29.133 and 134. This lotus is also called ‘trirasra’ (triangle), asit has a triangular process inside the pericarp. Trirasra has been mentioned inLiṅgapurana, 1.75.39.Description.
Ajña is situated above talu chakra at the eyebrow region (that is,at a certain intracerebral point). It has two petals. The petals are like lightning.They are also mentioned as red in colour. On the petals are two matrikaletters‘Hang’ and ‘Kshang’ arranged from right to left. It is a great centre forconcentration and mental worship.9 Shakti (-chakra). The term ‘shakti’ is a new one. It has only been mentionedin Shiwapurana, 3.3.28. It may be the Tantrika ‘manas’ chakra. It is above ajña.10 Kailasa(-chakra). ‘Kailasa’ is a new term. It has only been mentioned inDewibhagawata, 7.35.46. Perhaps it is the same as the chakra ‘shanta’ used inShiwapurana, 3.3.28.
However, it appears that kailasa and shanta are identicalwith the indu chakra. Kailasa is above shakti.11 Rodhini(-chakra i. The term ‘rodhini’ is a new one, and it has beenmentioned in Dewibhagawata, 7.35.46. The terms ‘dwadashanta’, mentioned inLiṅgapurana, 2.21.28, and in Shiwapurana, 5b.29.132, and ‘brahmarandhra’,mentioned in Skandapurana, 188.8.131.52, appear to be synonymous with rodhini.The chakra which is in brahmarandhra has been termed nirwana in the Tantras.So rodhini is probably the Tantrika nirwana chakra.12 Sahasrara. The term ‘sahasrara’ has been mentioned in Dewibhagawata,7.35.47.
This chakra also is called ‘sahasrapadma’ (lotus with 1000 petals),mentioned in Brahmawaiwartapurana, 1.26.5, ‘sahasrapatra’ (1000-petalled),mentioned in the same Purana, 1.26.8, and ‘sahasradala-padma’ (lotus having1000 petals), also mentioned in the same Purana, 4.21.174. The chakra named ‘shantyatita’, mentioned in Shiwapurana, 3.3.29, and sahasrara appear to besynonyms. Sahasrara has been indirectly called ‘parama shiras’, that is,supracerebral centre, mentioned in Bhagawata, 10.87.18.Description. Sahasrara is situated above rodhini (at the supracerebral point). Ithas 1000 petals which are white in colour. It is the seat of Bindu (SupremeBindu). Here concentration develops into superconcentration.
When Kundalini is brought to the sahasrara, deep concentration is transformed into superconsciousconcentration. The Supreme Spirit is realized in superconscious concentration inKundalini. Finally, Kundalini is absorbed into Supreme Spirit and what remainsis only He in a state of Supreme concentration.
By concentration combinedwith breathcontrol and mantra, Kundalini should be aroused in the muladharaand conducted to the various chakras, and, finally, to the sahasrara wheresamadhi is attained.Kundalini is the Supreme Power in her highest spiritual aspect when she isone and the same with Supreme Spirit. But when she is coiled in the muladhara,prana manifests as wayu (force-motion) and operates in the mental and material fields.
About the importance of the muladhara chakra, it has been stated: ‘Some saythat the adhara (muladhara) lies in relation to the suihumna and the saraswati(nadi). The (knowledge of the) world arises from the adhara and it is alsoabsorbed there. Therefore, one should seek shelter with all efforts at the feet of aguru (who alone can disclose it).
When the adharashakti (-power, that is,Kundalini) is asleep (latent) the knowledge of the world arises by the sleep(unspirituality). When Kundalini-power is aroused, the true knowledge of thethree worlds (that is, the whole chakra system) is attained. He who knows theadhara goes beyond darkness. . . . The brightness of the adhara chakra is like theradiance of a cluster of lightning; if the guru is pleased, liberation is attainedundoubtedly (that is, the lustre of the adhara is due to the arousing of Kundalini;if a disciple learns from his guru the method of rousing Kundalini and herconduction through the sushumna, and practises it successfully, he will attainsamadhi and then liberation).
The muladhara is the most important chakra from the viewpoint of spiritualpractice. In this centre lies Kundalini in her coiled form, and it is here she shouldbe aroused. This is why Kundalini is called the adhara-power. When Kundalini isroused, her splendour makes the muladhara bright. Kundalini lies coiled aroundPashchima-liṅga. When she is aroused, the entrance into the sushumna opensand she passes through the sushumna, piercing all the chakras situated there, andreaches the sahasrara. The process of rousing Kundalini consists ofbreathsuspension combined with mantra, concentration and certain internalcontrol. The passing of Kundalini through the sushumna causes absorptiveconcentration which develops into samadhi (superconcentration) whenKundalini reaches the sahasrara.
About the passing through the sushumna of the roused Kundalini, it has beensaid: ‘Then breaking through the Brahma-knot (Brahmagranthi) arising fromprimary energy-principle (rajas guna), Kundalini at once radiates into thesushumna-mouth (-wadana) (that is, the junction between the muladhara andsushumna) like a flash of lightning.
Then Kundalini goes upward into the Wishnu-knot (Wishnugranthi) lying in the hrit (chakra; according to the Tantras,Wishnu-knot lies in the anahata chakra which is above but close to the hritchakra).
Then (piercing the Wishnu-knot) Kundalini goes still higher into theRudra-knot (Rudragranthi) in the eyebrowspace (ajña chakra), and, breakingthrough it, reaches the moon-region (shitangshumandala); this is what is calledanahata chakra having 16 petals (the moon-region has also been called the induchakra—Yogakundalyupanishad, 1.71; the Tantrika term for the moon-region isthe soma chakra which has also 16 petals; indu and soma are synonyms; theydenote moon)’ (—Yogakundalyupanishad, 1. 67–9).
Finally, Kundalini reachesthe sahasrara chakra. It has been stated: ‘Absorbing into her the eight creativeprinciples arising from primus (prakriti), Kundali reaches the (highest) region(that is, the sahasrara) where she is in contact with Shiwa; then she becomesunited with and absorbed into Shiwa’ (—ibid., 1. 74).
There, it has been stated that splendorous Antaratman (Brahman) is in the thousand-petalled lotus; in addition to it, there is (within the twelve-petalledlotus which is the lower aspect of the sahasrara) the bright throne between nadaand bindu on which Guru is seated, who is to be contemplated on. On, and inconnection with, nada is a lustrous position to be thought of as the jewelled altaror bright throne in gross form of concentration, above which is bindu.
Above it is hangsah-pitha (seat). It has been stated: ‘Above it, there is theprimordial Hangsah who is the centre of splendour, growing like a flame, and who manifests himself as the destroyer of the universe by his great power of destruction; I do concentration on him’ (—Padukapañchaka, Verse 4). Above it means above the space which is above nada, that is, manipitha. Above manipithais bindu, and within the bindu is Hangsah. So, the bindu is the hangsahseat.Hangsah is Shiwa and Shakti. Hangsah is splendorous. This means that Shiwa is in union with Kundalini. Hangsah is the destroyer of the universe, that is, the aroused Kundalini exhibits her great power of absorption, being in Shiwa, by which all cosmic principles are absorbed into her. Hangsah represents a pair:Hang is Shiwa and Sah is Power as Kundalini.
It has been stated: ‘There, that is, in the Hangsahseat, are the lotus-feet ofGuru from which the saffron-like red-coloured and honey-imbibed nectar flows,and which are cool like nectar of the moon (or the rays of the moon) and theplace of all good; my mind contemplates them’ (—Padukapañchaka, Verse 5).Guru’s feet are actually the source from which the streams of lifesubstance ofred colour containing the essence of vitality (makaranda) constantly flow; andconcentration on that causes revivification of the mind and revitalization of thebody.
‘The lotus-feet of Guru are in the hangsahseat, as it has been stated that thefootstools (paduka) of Guru are in Hangsah’ (—Gherandasanghita, 6.12).‘Where the footstool is, there is Guru, and concentration on Guru should be donethere’ (—ibid., 6.13). The footstool is the spiritual symbol of Guru, indicatingthe presence of Guru.
Unmani is that powerby which consciousness becomes free from all objects, and is established inShiwa-form. This is the highest state of samprajñata samadhi. This power arises from Kundalini, and Kundalini in form is Guru’s Power.When dhyana on Guru develops to its highest point, one is able to go beyondform and dhyana is transformed into a luminous type. This means that now it ispossible to make dhyana directly and without thought, on the splendour ofKundalini. Now, the form aspects of Guru and his Power are absorbed intoKundalini and she appears as splendorous. On the accomplishment of dhyana-on-splendour, the practitioner is able to pass into the sahasrara proper and attains samprajñata samadhi in which his whole consciousness becomes splendorousKundalini.
The sahasrara is the last chakra in the chakra system. It is the thirteenth chakra,numerically from the muladhara. The sahasrara and its lower part, guru chakra,are not situated within the chitrini nadi, as this nadi ends intracranially, and thesahasrara, including guru chakra, lies in the void region, where there are nonadis.
The sahasrara lies in the void-region where there are no nadis; it is outside thecranium, but in contact with the top-end of the chitrini nadi, lying intracranially,through wisarga (power-bridge). At the terminal part of the chitrini is thenirwana chakra, which is connected through the wisarga, indirectly with thetwelve-petalled lotus, which is the lower aspect of the sahasrara.
The sahasrara has 1000 petals. The petals of the sahasrara are the seat of all power.
It has been stated: ‘Within the pericarp of the sahasrara, there is the nectarousocean wherein lies the isle of gems, and inside the isle of gems is the wishingtree; there lies a lustrous temple with four doors; inside the temple is an altarconsisting of fifty matrikaletters; there is a jewelled throne on the altar, and onthe throne is seated Mahakali (Supreme Power) in union with Maharudra(Parama Shiwa). He who is Maharudra (Supreme Rudra or Shiwa) isMahawishnu (Supreme Wishnu) and Mahabrahma (Supreme Brahma). The threeare one, there is only the difference in name’