Hinduism Today Magazine Issues and Articles
Chakras
Category : April 1994

Chakras

India's sages revealed the system of 14 chakras,"wheels" of consciousness and energy which define our



1 Sahasrara

Illumination, Godliness. The spiritual mountaintop, pinnacle of light, energy and consciousness. Aham Brahmasmi, "I am That," is unveiled. Here liberated ones abide in communion with the Self. Meaning: "thousand-petaled." Location: top of the cranium. Deity: guru within. Shakti: Mahashakti. Color: gold. Petals: 1,008. Plexus: pituitary. Planet: Neptune. World: Satyaloka.

2 Ajna

Divine sight. Sensitives and clairvoyants reside in the pastel petals of this refined realm of being with access to many levels of superconsciousness and inner worlds of light. Meaning: "command center." Location: between the eyebrows. Deity: Ardhanarishvara. Shakti: Hakini. Color: lavender. Vehicle: swan. Petals: two. Plexus: cavernous. Planet: Uranus. World: Tapoloka.

3 Vishuddha

Divine love. Here, limitless love wells up, a vision of all souls as brothers and sisters and all things as sacred. Selfless souls, exceptional artists and mystical poets reside here. Meaning: "pure." Location: throat. Deity: Panchavaktra Shiva. Shakti: Shakini. Color: smokey purple/blue. Vehicle: peacock. Petals: sixteen. Plexus: pharyngeal. Planet: Saturn. World: Janaloka.

4 Anahata

Direct cognition. Those who reach this realm, with their delicate, penetrating insight into many fields of activity and knowing are mankind's guides, counselors, mentors and problem solvers. Meaning: "unsullied." Location: heart. Deity: Rudra Shiva. Shakti: Kakini. Color: smokey green. Vehicle: deer. Petals: twelve. Plexus: cardiac. Planet: Jupiter. World: Maharloka.

5 Manipura

Willpower. This is the hub of willpower. Accomplished men and women perform at high levels mentally and physically when living in this center of energy, discipline and endurance. Meaning: "Jewelled city." Location: navel area. Deity: Rudra Shiva. Shakti: Lakini. Color: yellow-amber. Vehicle: ram. Petals: ten. Plexus: solar. Planet: Mars. World: Maharloka-Svarloka.

6 Svadishthana

Reason. Home of intellect. Educated people work through this center of logic and analysis. Great minds have mastered it. It is the pundit's dwelling place and the pragmatist's refuge. Meaning: "one's own place." Location: lower abdomen. Deity: Vishnu. Shakti: Rakini. Color: reddish orange. Vehicle: crocodile. Petals: six. Plexus: hypogastric. Planet: Venus. World: Bhuvarloka.

7 Muladhara

Memory-time-space. The abode of memory, the foundation of all human knowledge,

this center is also the seat of our basic instincts of survival, sexuality and others. Meaning: "foundation." Location: base of spine. Deity: Ganesha and Brahma. Shakti: Dakini. Color: red. Vehicle: elephant. Petals: four. Plexus: sacral or pelvic. Planet: Mercury. World: Bhuloka.

8 Atala

Fear and lust. As awareness slips below the muladhara into fear, indecision stymies ambition and a licentious lifestyle dulls the pranic sheath. Meaning: "without bottom." World: Put.

9 Vitala

Raging anger. Dark red-black streaks emblazen the aura when awareness enters this furnace of instinctive fire and then injures others. Meaning: "region of the lost." World: Avichi.

10 Sutala

Retaliatory jealousy. Wanting what others have and preoccupation with what one is not gnaws at the mind, instilling ill-will. Meaning: "great lower region." World: Sanhata.

11 Talatala

Prolonged confusion. Perversions replace natural joys. Negative karmas compound, and stiffen the flow of awareness. Reason warps. Meaning: "under the bottom level." World: Tamisra.

12 Rasatala

Selfishness. An imprisoning veil of "me" and "mine" blinds the natural instinct to care for others. Every action is for personal gain. Meaning: "lower region of moisture." World: Rijisha.

13 Mahatala

Consciencelessness. Blindness to higher impulses prevails. Guilt, compunction, even fear, are foreign. Criminality is life. Meaning: "greatest lower region." World: Kudmala.

14 Patala

Malice and murder. A virtual hell of hate, hurting, killing for its own sake without remorse. Reason rarely reaches this region. Meaning: "lower region of wickedness." World: Kakola.

The chakras are great force centers or nerve ganglia in the physical body, the astral body and the body of the soul. Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning "wheel," as these are spinning circles of energy and regions of mind power. The muladhara, the foundation or "root center" at the base of the spine, governs memory. Above it are six chakras which control reason, willpower, cognition, divine love, divine sight and illumination. The muladhara, the divine seat of Lord Ganesha, is the dividing point between human nature and instinctive, animal nature. Below this center, seven more chakras exist, located between the coccyx and the heels, making 14 in all. Sometimes they are said to be situated along the proverbial tail, for they reign over the realm of animal instincts. It is little-known that the chakras define our maturing as humans . Until age 7, we are mastering memory, learning language. From 7-14 we explore reason, always asking "Why?" From 14-21 willpower and striving come into play, and so on up the spine.

Muladhara

This is the memory center, located at the base of the spine, creating a consciousness of time through the powers of memory. Whenever we go back in our memory patterns, we are using the forces of the muladhara. It has four petals or aspects, one of which governs memories of past lives. The other three contain the compiled memory patterns and interrelated karmas of this life. This chakra is associated also with human qualities of individuality, egoism, physicality (including sexuality), materialism and dominance. A person lives predominantly in this chakra during the first seven years of life, acquiring language skills, relationships and cultural ways.

Svadishthana

Once the ability to remember has been established, the natural consequence is reason, and from reason evolves the intellect. Reason is the manipulation of memorized information. We categorize it, edit it, rearrange it and store the results. People in this chakra research, explore and wonder, "Why? Why? Why?" They propose theories and formulate reasonable explanations. They often form a rigid intellectual mind based upon opinionated knowledge and accumulated memory, reinforced by habit patterns of the instinctive mind.

It is in this chakra that the majority of people live, think, worry, and travel on the astral plane. We open naturally into this chakra-of asking why and learning how to think-between age 8 and 14. This center controls the muladhara, as does each progressively higher center control all chakras that lie below it. That is the law.

Manipura

The third chakra is represented in the central nervous system by the solar plexus, where all nerves merge to form the "second brain." Depending on how the energy is flowing, the forces of willpower from this chakra add power either to worldly consciousness through the first two centers or to spiritual consciousness through the fourth and fifth centers. When awareness is confined to the realms of memory, reason and aggressive willpower, men and women are instinctive in nature. They are quick to react and retaliate, quick to have their feelings hurt and quick to pursue the conquest of others while fearing their own defeat. In these states of mind, the ego rises to its greatest prominence, and emotional experiences are extremely intense. Young adults, from 14 to 21, discover willpower, willfulness and individuality as this chakra unfolds.

Anahata

Anahata, the center of perception and insight, is often referred to as "the lotus of the heart." Its 12 "petals" imply that the faculty of cognition can be expressed in twelve distinct ways or through as many masks or personae. People abiding here are generally well-balanced, content and self-contained. Even when in day-to-day life they become involved in the seemingly fractured parts, they are able to look through it all and understand-as though looking into a box and seeing the inside, the outside, the top and the bottom all at the same time. They have a deep understanding of human nature, which brings effortless tolerance and an innate ability to help others, to resolve conflicts and confusions. Between ages 21 and 28, perceptions deepen and understanding matures for those who enter this chakra. But many people do not. Instead, they regress to bull-in-the-china-shop consciousness, crashing their way through the world, still asking why, reasoning things out and recording it in memory patterns which they repeat again year after year after year. But, if awareness is mature and full, having incarnated many, many times, and well-trained all through youth, the soul proceeds smoothly into anahata consciousness.

Vishuddha

Universal or divine love is the faculty expressed by the vishuddha chakra. Whenever people feel filled with inexpressible love for and kinship with all mankind, all creatures large and small, they are vibrating within vishuddha. When deeply immersed in this state, there is no consciousness of being a person with emotions, no consciousness of thoughts. One is just being the light or being fully aware of himself as radiant force flowing through all form. He sometimes sees light throughout the entirety of his body. The exceptional soul who resides fully in this center, usually between the ages of 28 and 35, is able for the first time to withdraw awareness totally into the spine, into sushumna, the central spiritual current. Ultimately, he realizes that the inner being is nothing but the reality of himself.

Ajna

The sixth force center is called ajna, or the third eye, the center of divine sight, direct congition. Of its two "petals" or facets, one is the ability to look into the lower worlds or states of mind and the other is the perception of the higher worlds, or spiritual states, of consciousness. It, therefore, is the connecting link, allowing the awakened soul to relate the highest consciousness to the lowest in a unified vision. We open naturally into this chakra between ages 35 and 42.

Sahasrara

The seventh center, at the top of the head, is called the crown chakra. According to the ancient mystics, it governs 1,008 aspects or attributes of the soul body. These personae are transparent, a crystal-clear white light ever present, shining through the circumference of the golden, soul body. Here the soul dissolves even blissful visions of light and is immersed in pure space, pure awareness, pure being. Within the sahasrara is the Brahmarandhra, or "door of God," an aperture in the sushumna nadi through which kundalini enters in Nirvikalpa samadhi and the truely pure spirit escapes the body at death. We open naturally into the crown chakra between ages 42 and 49. Often when people get older, if they have not learned to sustain consciousness in the higher chakras, they start to drop in consciousness, returning to reason and trying to understand why all the things that happened to them in their lifetime happened as they did. They get stuck in the muladhara and spend years just remembering the past, reliving old experiences, good and bad alike. But more mature souls rightly fullfill life's two final stages: senior advisor and religious solitaire. They utilize their golden years to manifest higher-chakra faculties of love, light, inner vision and God Realization through service, sadhana, pilgrimage, worship and meditation.

The Seven Sub-Muladhara Regions

Atala: The first lower chakra, located in the hips, governs the state of mind called fear, which is truly a bottomless abyss. Someone in this consciousness fears death, fears life, even fears God and other people. This center is also the home of lust and promiscuity.

Vitala: Here anger predominates, and burning resentment. Anger comes from despair, confusion, frustration or lack of understanding. People in the consciousness of this chakra, centered in the thighs, are always wrathful, mad at the world, even angry at God.

Sutala: This chakra, found in the knees, governs jealousy, wanting what one can't have. Jealousy is a feeling of inadequacy, inferiority and helplessness. People in sutala consciousness covet everything, often deny the existence of God and are contentiously combative.

Talatala: Prolonged confused thinking dominates here, giving rise to instinctive willfulness: to get rather than give, to push others around and pursue materialistic advancement over all else. Greed and deceit prevail in thisdog-eat-dog state of mind, centered in the calves.

Rasatala: This chakra of the ankles is the true home of the animal nature. Unmitigated selfishness prevails, of seeing to the well-being of "number one" first. The suffering of others is of no concern. Jealousy, anger and fear are intense, even high, states of consciousness.

Mahatala: This is the realm of consciencelessness, or inner blindness to the effect of one's actions, of negativity and deep depression. Those living in this chakra of the feet steal freely, taking what they justify as theirs anyway, feeling that "the world owes them a living."

Patala: Here, in the soles of the feet, is the abode of destructiveness, revenge, murder for the sake of murder, torture, hatred expressed by harming the properties, minds, emotions and bodies of others. Malice reigns supreme. Reason seldom reaches this state of mind.