The Chakras Explained – The Prominent Chakra Traditions
Chakras are not just energy wheels. They are the steps for evolving consciousness.
Chakra, meaning “wheel” in Sanskrit, represents a series of mental and vital energy centers (prana) in the body. While they are in the body, they’re not physical centers. They could be considered “astral”, or in what is often referred to as our “subtle body”. They are on another (non-physical-matter) plane of existence. Scientifically it is on another dimension.
The concept of chakra is very ancient. Much before any written literature was exist in the world. Traditionally, it is believed that Lord Shiva has discovered the chakra system and then it is passed to the next generations through oral traditions. However, the word chakra was first mention in the Rig Veda, dating back to approximately 1500 B.C.E. But many believe that the chakra system is much older than that. Several versions of the chakra systems are available in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and modern New Age belief systems. Ancient texts, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita and Shiva Samhita just mentioned about the chakras.
Prominent Chakra Traditions
There are many chakra traditions. However, Purnananda Swami’s Seven chakra system (1577) Translated in English by Arthur Avalon (Sir John George Woodroffe) in 1919 and Sri Guru Amit Ray’s 114 chakra system are most authentic and most popular in India and in the modern Western world. Buddhism generally teaches four chakras. Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism teaches five chakras. Kabir described the 8th chakra above the head, as seat of the Supreme.
The Seven Chakra System
There are SEVEN primary chakras go up and down along the spine, from the bottom up to just above the crown of the head. But balancing of the 114 chakras are must otherwise body pain, headache and other diseases may occur in the body. The seven chakras are just the subsets of the whole chakra system. Earlier, I have explained the twelve chakra system in human body. Here, I will focus on the seven chakras.
What’s most interesting for the modern thinkers, is that they each represent a step forward in evolving consciousness. They are both landmarks for new discovery and placeholders where we can become “stuck”. Continued spiritual practice like breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and service, contemplation, and kindness (seeing the One in All) are what help us move up to the higher chakras. Every human being has got lotuses or chakras in their body whether they are male or female.
Chakras symbolize an intense connection between your body and your mind. It has been proven that people who cultivate their chakras and live their lives in a spiritual way are happier and more successful.
Chakra – 1: Root Chakra or Base Chakra : Muladhara Chakra
Your Root Chakra (Muladhara) is located at the base of your spine, in your pelvic area, and at the center of your body. Your Root Chakra is your grounding chakra which helps you to stay centered, secure, active, energized, and present.
It’s connected to your sense of belonging, feeling grounded, and safety. Your connection to your family, your ancestry, and planet Earth all reside here in your body.
It’s essential to pay attention to your Root Chakra in order for the others to function well. The keyword here is survival. All your survival instincts, resilience, and self-preservation characteristics live here.
If you’ve recently had surgery, a major illness or trauma like physical violence or betrayal, or if you have a history that includes neglect, abandonment, or instability, your Root chakra needs support.
Your Root Chakra allows Divine energy to flow from the Earth up into the rest of your chakras, and is an important foundation for the 7 chakras that are contained within your physical body.
The 5th dimensional base chakra is the anchor point of our ascended mastery. The base chakra frequency tries to draw our attention to an understanding of who we truly are and this is one of the most important lessons that it’s teaching us on the master pathway.
Chakra -2: Sacral Chakra : Svadhisthana Chakra
Your Sacral Chakra is your center of creativity and sexuality. Dealing with issues of relationships and how you interact socially, it is the dwelling place of your Self. The sacral chakra is slightly below the belly button.
The Sacral Chakra rules abundance, creativity, wellness, pleasure, and joy. It also controls passion, sex, and sexual pleasure, and brings the lessons of learning to let go.
The 5th dimensional sacral chakra has provided some challenging lessons to those on the ascension pathway. This chakra concerns our sexuality and interrelating with others. Family relationships tend to be formed from this chakra, depending on the karmic blueprint that our soul brings into incarnation.
Chakra 3- Solar Plexus Chakra: Manipura Chakra
The Solar Plexus Chakra is your personal power center, and is a storehouse of energy, both positive (growth and healing) and negative (pain, fear, and stress). It starts at the belly button and extends high up to the sternum.
The Solar Plexus is your center of will, and it controls issues from the past as well as ambitions and goals for success in the future. This is the center of your personality as a physical being as well, and its state of balance is directly correlated with your sense of willpower, self-acceptance, and your ambition to succeed.
Chakra 4- Heart Chakra : Anahata Chakra
Your Heart Chakra is located in the center of your being and is where the physical and spiritual meet, and where your emotions come into play.
The heart controls relationships, and when it’s open, it allows you to flow while relating with others with love and compassion. An open heart chakra allows you to be empathetic to the feelings and emotions of others, while remaining true and in tune with your own.
The heart rules emotional healing, and love of self and others, as well as overseeing your appreciation of beauty, and your willingness for compassion. The heart is a sacred portal, which when open allows you to access the gifts of your higher energetic centers, and in and of itself is the doorway to the realms of angels and Divine love.
Chakra 5- Throat Chakra : Vishuddha Chakra
Your Throat Chakra is your communication center, and it is the center of truth, personal expression, listening, responsibility, faith, and creativity. Anything dealing with voice (singing, acting, communication, talking, or listening) is ruled by the Throat Chakra.
The Throat Chakra when opened and balanced allows you to speak the truth of Divine love.
Chakra 6- Third Eye Chakra : Ajna Chakra
Your third eye chakra is located in the center of your forehead, and is the center of psychic ability. Your Third Eye chakra also plays a role in your feeling, sensing, and hearing ability. This chakra also connects your energies beyond the physical.
Your Third Eye chakra regulates the decisions you make, and what you consider to be important. It oversees your dreamtime, and connects you with the subconscious mind and with the higher realms of Spirit. Learning, memory, telepathy, clairvoyance, mediumship, aura sensing, are all ruled by the Third Eye chakra.
Chakra 7- Crown Chakra : Sahasrara Chakra
Your Crown Chakra connects you to the higher spiritual realms. It rules your dreams, visions, hopes, and Divine realizations. Spiritual downloads, connection to Spirit, and alignment with your higher purpose are all possible through an awakened and balanced Crown Chakra.
When your Crown chakra is open and you are linked to the infinite light of the Divine above, anything is possible in your life, including the fruition of your dreams, a true connection with Spirit, and even enlightenment.
Chakras and the Three Energy Channels: Ida, Pingala and the Sushumna
It’s also worth mentioning that the chakras are connected by the Ida, Pingala and the Sushumna, energy channels. The Sushumna, or the “central channel”, is also know as the “Divine Road”. It moves up and down the spine. This is the pathway that the vital energy (prana) travels, and with prolonged periods of meditation and yoga practice, the movement of energy on this channel is supposedly physically tangible.
Chakras and the Kundalini Yoga
The practice of Kundalini yoga is solely focused on using deep meditative breathing (pranayama) and a series of postures (asanas) to move energy from the first chakra at the base up to the seventh at the crown. This process is considered a ‘Kundalini awakening’ or a ‘Kundalini experience’ which is apparently transformative powerful and leads to higher states of awareness and bliss.
Chakras Prominent Masters and Experiences
Prominent writers about the Kundalini experience are Gopi Krishna, Sri Guru Amit Ray, Charles Leadbeater of the Theosophists, Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Sivananda, there are many more who claim to have had this experience in recent decades.
“When you touch the celestial in your heart, you will realize that the beauty of your soul is so pure, so vast and so devastating that you have no option but to merge with it. You have no option but to feel the rhythm of the universe in the rhythm of your heart. Through systematic meditation one can awaken the third eye and touch the cosmic awareness. Sushumna nadi is the subtle pathway in the spinal cord which passes through the main psychic centers. The awakening of these centers means a gradual expansion of awareness, until it reaches the cosmic awareness. Each center has its own beauty and gracefulness. Through generations of ignorance and unconsciousness, this channel of awareness becomes obscured and hidden. Meditation is to become aware about this internal life energy. Meditation is the procedure to rearrange, harmonize, activate, and integrate the individual life energy with the cosmic life energy.”
In The Evolutionary Energy in Man, Gopi Krishna writes:
“Entirely unprepared for such a development, I was completely taken by surprise; but regaining my self-control, keeping my mind on the point of concentration. The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light. It is impossible to describe the experience accurately. I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider surrounded by waves of light. It grew wider and wider, spreading outward while the body, normally the immediate object of its perception, appeared to have receded into the distance until I became entirely unconscious of it. I was now all consciousness without any outline, without any idea of corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware at every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction. I was no longer myself, or to be more accurate, no longer as I knew myself to be, a small point of awareness confined to a body, but instead was a vast circle of consciousness in which the body was but a point, bathed in light and in a state of exultation and happiness impossible to describe”
Popular Chakra Quotes
“Each chakra is within the body, yet they are bodiless. They are the vibrant spirits and connected with countless realms.” — Sri Guru Amit Ray
“The 114 chakras, the 84 yoga poses and the 84 ragas of Indian classical music all work together to bring melody in life.” — Sri Guru Amit Ray
“The early morning inner pilgrimages to the 114 lotus-like divine chakras brings harmony, unity, and blessings in life.” — Sri Guru Amit Ray
“The six Chakras beginning with Muladhara are said to be the seat of Sakti (Goddess). From the neck to the top of the head is said to be the seat of Sambhu (Shiva).” — Varaha Upanishad.
“Body is the temple of Shiva. Nadha Brahma assumes three shapes Macro, Micro and external. One has to
clearly aim at the unification of these three. The Teacher (guru) is the Brahma, the Lord Sadashiva.” — Yoga Sikha Upanishad.
“Aligning the 114 chakras with the divine universal healing energy is the key to activate the healing power within.” — Sri Guru Amit Ray
Summary and Conclusions:
The concepts of chakras are found in many traditions of Hinduism. Particularly, the oral tradition of chakra system is very strong. The seven chakra system and the Saint Amit Ray’s 114 chakra system are most popular in modern world. Beliefs differ between the Indian religions, many Buddhist texts consistently mentioning five chakras. Here, I explained primarily the seven chakras and the other prominent chakra traditions in the world.