(Last Updated on : 23/05/2011)
Chakras in Sufism form the central path of the Naqshbandi way of practice. Also known as the science of subtle centres, the science of the Chakras is the path leading straight towards the goal that avoids undue hardship and the risk of going astray. This is the extraordinary gift of the Naqshbandi Sufi way of practice to humanity. Shaikh Ahmad al Faruqi was one of the greatest exponents of this science, better known as Ilm-e-Lataif.
For a better understanding of this science, it is essential to comprehend the nature of the creation of the universe and the position of man in Creation. It is held by Islam, as all other major religions, that God created the universe by commanding it to 'be' in order that He may be known and the state of bliss enjoyed by Him can be enjoyed by His creation as well. The entire universe thus originated from the one Absolute Truth, God, and since the entire universe originated from God, some saints believed in the unity of existence (Wahdat al Wujud). This means that God reveals Himself in a gradually descending order of degrees, whereas some others believed that everything is because of God (Wahdat al Shuhud). For them the degree of reality inbuilt in the successive stages of creation is not the same. They, specially the Mujaddidi Shaikhs of the Naqshbandi Order
, propounded the theory of reflections and shadows of the Absolute Truth manifesting in different degrees in the created world. The two theories are, however, a matter only of taking a different viewpoint of the same truth and can be reconciled if one considers that the essence of the entire creation is the Essence of God.
The creative power of the God is said to have manifested at three levels. The first of these levels contained the seeds of all possibilities of manifestation (Hiranyagarbha), followed by the level of undifferentiated existence (non-manifest or Avyakta
) and the level of manifestation of exterior forms (manifestation or Vyaktu). These three levels of manifestation are considered to correspond to the causal body (Karan Sharir or the spirit), the subtle body (Suksham Sharir or the mind) and the gross body (Sthul Sharir or the physical body) of Man, the highest creation of the God, which occupies the most eminent position amongst the creatures. Man is also called a microcosm i.e. a prototype of the macrocosm. It is said that Man is the most excellent and the noblest of all creation, who was created in the likeness of God i.e. he has been blessed to realise all the possibilities of the cosmos.
The cosmic evolution is considered to begin with the coming into existence of the Ahankara
(Mahtatva-the individual consciousness). It represents the earthly principle that governs creation from a macrocosmic point of view. Ahankara gives rise to Shabda (the vibration), the subtle principle of the element other (Akash), the first most subtle of the five corporeal elements (Punch Bhuta or Panch Tatvas) that compose the physical body of the Man. Shabda gives rise to Sparsh (touch), the subtle principle of the element air (Vayu), which in turn gives rise to Rupa (form), the subtle principle of the element fire (Agni). From Rupa springs the Rasa (essence, savour), the subtle principle of the element water (Jal) and lastly the Gandha (odour) that corresponds to the element earth (Prithvi
These very five elements (Panch Bhuta or Panch Tatvas) i.e. ether, air, fire, water and earth make the gross body of the Man. Their subtle principles are situated at the five subtle centres or chakras, situated inside the body of the Man. These are:
||Organ of Procreation
Ether (Akash) was the first element to descend into the gross determination and its subtle principle (Shabda-vibration) resided at the throat in Vishuddh Chakra. The element air was produced as a result of churning of the element ether, which took its seat inside the Anahat Chakra in the proximity of the lungs. Churning of air in turn produced the element fire, which found a place in the Manipurak Chakra. The next element to be produced from fire (by churning e.g. burning of hydrogen into hydrogen-oxide) was water, which resides in the Svadhisthan Chakra, characterizing the flow of the bodily secretion from the organ of procreation.
The presiding power of the Chakra, the creative aspect of God (Allah in His aspect as al Bari or al Khaliqihe, Creator) created all the living creatures from the day by mixing this water with the element earth on the potter's wheel in His celestial workshop.
According to the Naqshbandi Sufi tradition the subtleties corresponding to the four elements (Anasir-e-arba) i.e. air, fire, water and earth situated in Chakras below the throat i.e. in the trunk of human body together with the carnal soul are considered as the inferior Lataif (spiritual centres of energy). These five subtle organs are considered to pertain to the world of creation (alam-e-khalq). Their immediate cause or their principles pertain to the world of order. According to the Sufi tradition world of order is identical to the world of light (alam-e-nur) that contains the principles and inner realities of all the possibilities of manifestation, past present or future and it came into existence with the first determination of God. It is beyond the limitations of time and space, which govern the world of creation.
The subtle Chakras need to be activated and awakened in order to reintegrate them with their latent spiritual principles in the form of pure light of different colours in the world of order. If is believed that the five subtle organs lost then' original purity-luminosity due to their association with the carnal soul, during their descent into the world of creation. They, therefore, need to be purified so that they may acquire their original uncontaminated state. In the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, Latifa-e-kulb is considered to be the root of all the other Chakras and is associated with the creative aspect of God. Purification of this Chakra is, therefore, most important from the spiritual point of view.
Prior to the time of Shah Bahauddin Naqshband, the Masters of the Order followed the practice of purifying all the Chakras, starting from the lowest the Muladhar Chakra. Shah Bahauddin Naqshband introduced the practice of starting from the Hriday Chakra. The method of practice was further modified and improved by the Masters of the Order after him and Shaikh Ahmad Faruqi considered that purification of Latifa-e-kulb (one of the five spiritual organs of the Hriday Chakra) alone was sufficient.
When the Hriday Chakra activated, such power flows that one forgets all other things. By activating the Hriday Chakra love is created by the Master with his spiritual power (Tavajjoh). This is a process of induction where the Master through his high spiritual energy, induces love in the heart of the disciple. The result is that the entire work of awakening, activating of other Chakras is done by this Chakra alone. Once the Hriday Chakra is activated and awakened the seeker can be immediately taken to the Nafs-e-Natiqa the subtle abode of the Nafs in one step, as sanctioned by Shaikh Ahmad Faruqi and he may be progressed to the Brahmand Chakra (or the centre of the lotus of one thousand petals-the Sahstra dal Kamal) as the second step.
In the Naqshbandia Mujaddidia Mazaharia Ramchandria stream of Sufis, the grace of God works through the Tavajjoh of the Master, which helps the seeker to achieve his goal in an effortless manner and in the shortest time.