(Last Updated on : 20/05/2014)
The word Chakra is a Sanskrit word, meaning "wheel" or "disc". In the ancient yoga systems of India, the word Chakra described a spinning vortex of energy in the subtle body. Although, generally it is believed that there are seven Chakras, according to Kundalini meditation and Aghori theory, there are nine Chakras.
The nine Chakras are arranged vertically along the spine and abundant energy pathways or channels are present, called Nadis (from the term nad which means a hollow stalk) that intersect at these Chakras.
There are a total of 72000 Nadis or subtle channels of energy coming out from the spinal cord. The main Nadis among them are the Surya Nadi, Chandra Nadi, Ida, Pingala and the Susushmna. The Ida Nadi runs adjoining to the left side of the spinal cord and the Pingala Nadi runs close to the right side of it. The third major Nadi is the Sushumna flows inside the central canal of the spinal cord. The Chakras are sometimes referred to as lotuses, since they open and close like a flower, and in the yogic system they are represented with varied number of petals, ranging from four at the base Chakra to 1000 at the crown. They can be stimulating and awakened by yogic practices like asanas (yoga postures), breathing, and meditation. When motivated, they create latent forces, which awaken the power to triumph over disease, decay and finally, according to the ancient yogis, death as well.
The seven upper chakras, from lowest to highest
Base Chakra / Mooladhara chakra (base of spine): memory, time and space;
Sacral Chakra / Svadhishthana chakra (below navel): reason;
Solar plexus / Manipura chakra (solar plexus): willpower;
Heart Chakra / anahata chakra (heart center): direct cognition;
Throat Chakra / Vishuddha chakra (throat): divine love;
minds eye / ajna chakra (third eye): divine sight;
crown chakra / Sahasrara chakra (crown of head): illumination, Godliness.
The seven lower chakras, from highest to lowest
atala chakra (hips): fear and lust;
vitala chakra (thighs): raging anger;
sutala chakra (knees): retaliatory jealousy;
talatala chakra (calves): prolonged mental confusion;
rasatala chakra (ankles): selfishness;
mahatala chakra (feet): absence of conscience;
patala chakra (located in the soles of the feet): murder and malice
The Mooladhara Chakra:
The Mooladhara is the first primary chakra according to Hindu and Yoga tradition. The Mooladhara Chakra is the seat of the coiled Kundalini, the vital Shakti, or Female energy force. This foundation chakra is the root of all growth and awareness of the divinity of man. Mooladhara is positioned just below the tip of the tailbone, just above the anus.
Also known as the root chakra it is associated with Physical identity, oriented to self-preservation. This chakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Ideally this chakra brings us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence. Mooladhara is the chakra that draws down spiritual energy, causing it to assume a physical existence.
Mooladhara is the base from which the 3 main psychic channels or nadis- ida, pingala and Sushumna, emerge. Within this chakra resides/sleeps the Kundalini Shakti, the great spiritual potential, waiting to be aroused and brought back up to the source from which it originated, Brahman.
Colours associated with this chakra are red, yellow, and golden. It could be considered the bliss centre for physical body.
2. Svadhishthana chakra:
This is the second chakra, also called the Jupiter Chakra or Sacral Chakra. It is located on the spine near the genitals. It is the center of sexuality, passion, and the creation of life.
Svadhishthana Chakra is located within the Sushumna Nadi at the root of the reproductory organ. This corresponds to Bhuvar Loka. This has control over the lower abdomen, kidneys, etc., in the physical body. The Jala Mandal or the region of water-Apa Tattva resides in this chakra. Within this Chakra there is a space like a crescent moon or the form of a conch or Kunda flower. The presiding deity of this chakra is Lord Brahma and Devata is Goddess Rakini. The colour of the Chakra is pure blood-like red or the colour of Sindura (vermilion). From this centre six Yoga Nadis emanate, which appear like the petals of a lotus.
He who concentrates at this Chakra and meditates on the Devata has no fear of water. He has perfect control over the water element. He gets many psychic powers, intuitional knowledge and a perfect control over his senses. He has full knowledge of the astral entities. Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya and other impure qualities are completely annihilated. The Yogi becomes the conqueror of death (Mrityunjaya).
3. Manipura Chakra:
The third chakra is the Manipura chakra or Nabhi. It means Lusterous Gem or "the city of jewels" in Sanskrit. According to Hindu tradition it is positioned at the naval region. It has ten petals, which match the vrittis of spiritual ignorance, thirst, jealousy, treachery, shame, fear, disgust, delusion, foolishness and sadness. This Chakra is yellow in color.
This chakra plays an important role both in the physical and spiritual realm. It functions as an Auric energy generator. It's function is Will and Power. The verb associated with the 3rd chakra is "I can". The Shakti in this chakra is Lakshmi Ma. Lakshmi Ma is the goddess of spiritual prosperity. Manipura chakra has ten major nadis, functioning at different levels to help the Sadhaka to achieve his or her goals. These nadis have dual role to play, one on the physical level and the other at the psychic and spiritual level.
When the chakra is activated, it provides many psychic powers like the Knowledge of subtle energies, and eradication of phobias like the fear of fire, it evokes the knowledge of the cosmic plane, and the power to understand the physical problems of others, provides knowledge of stars and the world beyond, and also balanced inner elements, such as Water, Earth and Fire, it acts as a Healing touch, and knowledge of the body and provides the power to control hunger and thirst.
4. Anahata Chakra:
Anahata or the Heart Chakra is the fourth primary chakra according to the Hindu and the Tantric traditions. The word anahata, in Sanskrit, means unhurt, un-struck and unbeaten. Anahata Nad refers to the Vedic concept of unstruck sound, the sound of the celestial realm. The function of this chakra is Love. It's element is Air.
Positioned at the heart region, this chakra is represented as a green flower with twelve petals of red or white hue, while the central part is a smoky color, which match the vrittis of lust, fraud, indecision, repentance, hope, anxiety, longing, impartiality, arrogance, incompetence, discrimination and defiance.
The fourth centre, the anahata, is very significant, because it is in the heart that for the first time you were related to your mother. It was through the heart that you were related to your mother, not through the head. In deep love, in deep orgasm, again you are related through the heart, not through the head. In meditation, in prayer, the same happens: you are related with existence through the heart - heart-to-heart.
In Kundalini yoga, anahata is awoken and balanced through practices including asanas, pranayama, and the practice of Ajapa Japa or repetition of a sacred mantra.
Air, Social identity, oriented to self-acceptance, this chakra is called the heart chakra and is the middle chakra in a system of seven. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, and have a deep sense of peace and centeredness - our heart and our love.
5. Vishuddha Chakra
The Yantra of Vishuddha Chakra is a silver crescent within a white circle shining as a full moon surrounded by sixteen petals. The silver crescent is the symbol of nada, pure cosmic sound. The crescent is symbolic of purity, and purification is a vital aspect of Vishuddha Chakra.
Also known as the Vishuddhi, it is the fifth primary chakra according to Hindu tradition. Vishuddha is positioned at the neck region and it has sixteen petals. It is associated with the faculty of higher discrimination, between choosing what is right and wrong, and it is associated with creativity and self-expression. It is known as the 'poison and nectar' centre, closely related to the Bindu chakra. The secret of immortality is said to reside there. When Vishuddha is closed, we undergo decay and death. When it is open, negative experience is transformed into wisdom and learning. In Kundalini yoga, Vishuddha can be opened and balanced through practices including asanas, pranayama and various mudraas.
On the psychic level, Vishuddha governs expression, inspiration in speech eloquence and perception of archetypal models. On a physical level, it controls the activity of the vocal cords, of the hearings, of the pharynx. This chakra is the symbol of sound, dreams and purity.
The effects of meditating on this chakra are: calmness, serenity, pleasant voice, awakening of the artistic inspiration, capacity to interpret correctly, understanding the secret language of the messages in ones dreams.
6. Ajna Chakra:
The word Ajna means, "command". It is the chakra of intuitive wisdom. It challenges us to open the mind, develop an impersonal mind and avoid artificial or false truths. Ajna or Bow chakra has two petals and is associated with the tattwa of Manas or Mind, which is beyond even the subtlest elements. It is said to be white in colour.
The sixth primary chakra according to the Hindu tradition is positioned at the eyebrow region. Ajna chakra is the location of the third eye, which is the conscience. The two physical eyes see the past and the present, while the third eye reveals the insight of the future. Ajna is considered the chakra of the mind. When something is seen in the mind's eye, or in a dream, it is being 'seen' by Ajna.
In kundalini yoga, different practices are said to stimulate the Ajna chakra, including Trataka (steady gazing), Shambhavi Mudra (gazing at the space between the eyebrows), and some forms of Pranayama (breath exercises).
It is the chakra of forgiveness and compassion. Forgiveness is the power to let go of anger, hatred and resentment and to discover, in humility, the nobility and generosity of the Spirit. It is the one that dissolves all our conditionings, ego, habits, false ideas of racialism, and all our misidentifications.
When the sixth chakra is active, consciousness and unconsciousness merge and whatever gulf there was beforehand is permanently abolished. Integration becomes complete and a person sees himself as the union of selves.
7. Sahasrara Chakra:
Sahasrara, meaning thousand, is the "Lotus of the Thousand Petals", located four fingerbreadths above the crown of the head. It is also called Brahma-randhra. It is the meeting place of Kundalini Shakti and Shiva. Immortality is achieved within Sahasrara Chakra. Before attaining to this chakra the yogi is unable to reach the unconscious conscious state called asama-prajnata-samadhi. Blockage manifests as psychological problems.
Sahasrara is the most sublime chakra, relating to pure consciousness, of the Hindu tradition. Sahasrara chakra symbolizes detachment from illusion; an essential element in obtaining supramental consciousness of the truth that one is all and all is one. It is from this chakra that all the other chakras emanate. When a yogi is able to raise his or her kundalini, energy of consciousness, up to this point, the state of samadhi, or union with god, is experienced.
Light, fire, or sight in its finest essence, the yogi becomes illuminated like the sun. His aura of light is continually radiant. The yogi attains supremacy over prana, which becomes so subtle that all of the prana (life force) within his body is said to be thumb-sized. Happiness: Arises when a proper balance in body, psyche, and mind is established.
Immortality is attained within Sahasrara Chakra. When the Kundalini is raised up to Sahasrara Chakra, the illusion of "individual self" is dissolved. The yogi becomes realized, one with the cosmic principles that govern the entire universe within the body. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss.
The seven principal chakras can be seen psychically as colorful, multi-petaled wheels or lotuses. They are situated along the spinal cord from the base to the cranial chamber.
There are seven chakras, barely visible, exist below the spine. They are seats of instinctive consciousness, the origin of jealousy, hatred, envy, guilt, sorrow, etc. They constitute the lower or hellish world, called Naraka or patala. These are Atala Chakra, Vitala Chakra ,Sutala Chakra, Talatala Chakra, Rasatala Chakra, Mahatala Chakra, Patala Chakra etc.
The lower three Chakras are for the ordinary, the Adhibhautika; the upper three are for the spiritual, the Adhyatmika. These three Chakras are within the head, and they permit the immortals to remain in their bodies, if they can retain the Almighty's grace. They can only be experienced after the Kundalini is fully awakened. The above-mentioned six Chakras are known as the Mooladhara, in the perineum. Then comes the Svadhishthana in the pubic region, the Manipura at the navel, the Anahata near the heart, the Vishuddha in the throat, and the Ajna in the center of the forehead and then to the Sahasrara.
The lotus is used as a symbol for purity in regard to the Nine Chakras, because despite of living in mud it is not soiled by the mud but rises above it. Thus the lotus justifies the theory of Maya Shakti. Each petal of the lotus is a separate Bija Mantra for that particular Chakra. The concept of Nine Chakras is closely associated with the practice of Kundalini Yoga and raising awareness above each of the Chakras make a difference in the spiritual status of the person.