Chakras Energy Centers of Transformation Harish Johari

Chakras which are defined as psychic centers cannot be described fully fr om a materialistic standpoint. Just as a painting cannot be described merely fr om the standpoint of its lines, curves, or varying shades of color, even though these can be said to form its basic structure, chakras cannot be defined physiologically, or through any physical science such as neurochemistry. Chakras are centers of activity of subtle, vital force termed sukshma prana (subtle prana). These centers are interrelated with the parasympathetic, sympathetic, and autonomous nervous systems.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means «a disc» and «circular movement». The word chakra also indicates a wheel. Chakras can be thought of as wheels of the mind that dwell in the forest of desires. And desires, like wheels themselves, are great motivating forces. Each chakra is a stage by stage playground of desires, exhibiting its influence on the persons who are attached to the enjoyment of that particular chakra. Throughout life, one dwells in this forest and thinks and understands life’s situations fr om the standpoint of the chakras in which one normally feels most comfortable.

MULADHARA CHAKRA (FIRST CHAKRA)
Meanings of the Name: Foundation, Base (mul - base, adhara - support) Location: Perineum, below the genitals and above the anus inside the coccyx, the pelvic plexus, base of the spine, the first three vertebrae
Seed Sounds of the Petals: VANG, SHANG, KSHANG, SANG
Aspects - Shelter and food
Element (Tattva): Earth
Color of the Element: Yellow
Shape (Yantra) of the Element: Square
Predominant Sense: Smell Sense
Organ: Nose
Work Organ: Anus Air (Vayu, Prana): Apana vayu - the air that expels the semen fr om the male organ and urine fr om both sexes, and that which pushes the child fr om the womb during birth
Plane (Loka): Bhu Loka (Physical plane)
Ruling Planet: Mars (solar, masculine)

Yantra Form: Square of chrome yellow color. The square is a symbol for earth. It has great significance with regard to earthly awareness, as it represents the earth itself, the four dimensions, and the four directions. The four points form the four pillars or corners of what is known as the quadrangular earth. This yantra is the seat of the seed sound (bija mantra) LANG and releases sound in all of the eight directions. This is often depicted by eight spears emanating fr om the square. All the divinities, the important Nadis (Ida, Pingala, Sushumna), the Svayambhu Lingam, and Goddess Kundalini reside inside the triangle which is the center of this yantra. Earth is the densest of all the elements, being the mixture of the four other elements: water, fire, air, and akasha.

The Circle with Four Petals: The square is surrounded by a circle and four lotus petals. The four petals represent the four important mental modifications (vritties): state of greatest joy (paramananda); state of natural pleasure (sahajananda); the delight in the control of passions (virananda); the blissfulness in concentration (yogananda), as stated in Mahanirvana Tantra. The color of the petals is vermilion, a red with a yellowish tinge. It is mixed with a small touch of crimson red.

The Triangle: The downward-pointing triangle in the pericarp is very important because it is the seat of the dormant vital life force, Kundalini Shakti, depicted in the form of a serpent coiled around the Svayambhu Lingam at its center. Kundalini represents the female principle. She is shown here in the form of a serpent coiled three and a half times around the Svayambhu Lingam. Her mouth is open in Sushumna (facing upward) and is connected with the Brahma Nadi. Svayam means “self” and bhu means “originate” so svayambhu means “self-born.” Ling means “gender” and is a symbol of the masculine form of energy. As such, it also is understood as Shiva, representing the male principle. The male and female principles, Shiva and Shakti (Kundalini), are together in the downward-pointing triangle (tripura) but not in complete union. Their union comes only in the Kameshvara Chakra. The Lingam shines like lightning and the energy radiated by it is cool like a full moon, while the energy of Kundalini Shakti is hot and fire-like. Thus they are the eternal pair of opposites. The Lingam is black, which becomes shining gray because of the radiation emitting fr om it. It is described as shyamala (black, gray, greenish black). According to some scriptures, it has the color of a new green leaf, and the Kundalini Shakti that wraps around it is dark green in color.

Seed Sound (Bija Mantra): The seed sound LANG is produced by putting the lips in a square shape and pushing the tongue in a square shape against the palate. The sound vibrates the palate, the brain, and the top of the cranium. When properly produced, the sound LANG excites the Nadis in the first chakra and creates a lock that prevents the downward movement of energy. The upward movement of energy starts when the end of the sound, ANG, vibrates the upper head.

Carrier of the Seed Sound:
The elephant Airavata. Indra, the lord of the firmament, selected it as his vehicle. The elephant’s skin color is smoky gray, the color of the clouds. Traditionally Airavata is shown as a white elephant with seven trunks. The seven trunks are the colors of the rainbow (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red—the seven different frequencies of light). These seven frequencies represent the seven aspects of individual consciousness that must be recognized and that evolved in harmony with natural laws. The rainbow is naturally associated with Indra, who, as lord of the firmament, is also the god of rain and thunder. Indra is the chief of the sub-gods, implying one who has mastered his sense organs and work organs (indriyas).

Physical strength comes fr om the seven constituents of the physical body (dhatus), which are nourished on a cellular level by the earth element: Raja – earth, clay
Rasa – fluids
Rakta – blood
Mansa – flesh, nerves, fibers, tissues
Medha – fat
Asthi – bones
Majjan – bone marrow

The seven types of desires (for security, sexuality, longevity, sharing, knowledge, self-realization and union) are also seen in the seven trunks and seven colors. They are associated with the seven chakras, the seven notes in an octave, and seven major planets. The elephant represents the fundamental urge for survival, a lifelong search for food for the body, the mind, and the heart. Because the elephant can carry heavy loads, it is a symbol of physical strength. Yet the elephant also carries out the orders of its master with humility, indicating that physical development need not impede spiritual growth but can harmonize with spiritual qualities. On the psychophysical level, a well-worked-out first chakra brings self control, physical strength, patience, the ability to bear heavy workloads, and a disciplined life.

Deity: Brahma. The lord of creation, Brahma, rules the direction North and is sattvik (pure, clear) in nature. Brahma manifests as a child, Bal Brahma (bal -child) who shines like the morning sun. This radiant Child Brahma has four heads and four arms. His skin is the color of wheat. He wears a yellow dhoti (traditional Indian cloth wrapped to cover the lower body), a green scarf and a sacred thread. With four heads, he sees in all four directions at the same time. Each head represents one of the four aspects of human consciousness. These are recognized as:

1. The Physical Self: The cellular body which survives on food, sleep, and sex and needs exercise to grow and develop. The physical self is manifested through earth, matter, and the mother energy.
2. The Rational Self: The intellectual or conditioned logic of an individual’s reasoning process.
3. The Emotional Self: The moods and sentiments that shift continually within the person. Loyalties and romance are influenced by the emotional self through electro-chemical energy.

4. The Intuitive Self: The inner voice of the person’s conscious mind.

Each of Brahma’s four hands carries a blessing for the aspirant. With one he is granting fearlessness and boons. The second hand holds a water pot, which carries the sacred water, the elixir. In his third hand is a lotus flower or a rosary for japa. In his fourth hand he carries scrolls depicting the divine knowledge. Brahma’s sattvik energy appears during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. By envisioning him, one invokes a peaceful stillness in the mind. All fears and insecurities are resolved through Lord Brahma, the ever-watchful creator.

Shakti:
Dakini. She is the presiding divinity, the doorkeeper, and the power or energy (shakti) of the Muladhara Chakra. She has four arms and hands. In her lower right hand she holds a sword with which she removes fear, destroys ignorance, and helps the aspirant (sadhaka) surmount all difficulties. In her upper right hand she holds a shield for protection. In her lower left hand she holds a skull (sometimes a skulled staff), which indicates detachment fr om the fear of death, the basic psychological block of the first chakra. In her upper left hand she holds a trident which symbolizes the combined energy of the creator, the preserver, and the destroyer. Dakini’s color is radiant pink, her eyes are shining red. She is divinely dressed and is the mother of wealth. Although she is described as being red like the rising sun and having fierce teeth—an angry-looking, fearsome goddess—she should be visualized in her pleasant mood and form for meditation.

Ruler: Ganesha. The elephant-headed god, Ganesha, is the lord to be invoked at the beginning of all undertakings to bestow protection and remove all obstacles. The rational mind creates obstacles to worship of any kind. Worship of Ganesha involves accepting him as a remover of obstacles. This subdues the rational mind, or the left hemisphere, which is analytical and critical in nature, and frees the right hemisphere, which is emotional and which is needed for any spiritual venture. Visualization of Ganesha helps in stopping the internal dialogue. One who is put off by the external form cannot admire the internal beauty and power of Ganesha, but one who penetrates the physical reality can see in Ganesha the union of love and wisdom. Ganesha’s skin color is coral orange. He wears a dhoti of lemon yellow color. A green silk scarf drapes his shoulders. He has four arms to serve him while he acts as the destroyer of obstacles. In his upper right hand he holds a hatchet symbolizing control of the “elephant of desires” and the cutting away of the bondage of desires. The hatchet cuts the person away fr om the false identification of his or her true Self with the physical body. With his lower right hand Ganesha grants fearlessness. His upper left hand holds a lasso (pash), symbolizing the bondage of worldly attachment. His lower left hand holds a laddu, a fragrant sweet ball made of chickpea flour, which symbolizes sattva, the most refined state of pure consciousness. The laddu also brings health and prosperity to the household.

Effects of Meditation: Meditation on the tip of the nose (the sense organ of the Muladhara Chakra) induces awareness, freedom fr om disease, inspiration, vitality, vigor, stamina, endurance, stability, security, and lightness (the power of levitation). One achieves understanding of inner purity, softness in voice, and the power to hear inner melody.

Behavioral Characteristics in the Muladhara Chakra: This chakra encompasses the planes of genesis, illusion, anger, greed, delusion, avarice, and sensuality. The energy in the first chakra is influenced by the earth element, and the earth element is connected with the desire for security in the form of job and shelter. A person who is dominated by the Muladhara Chakra is obsessed by the desire to find security. Like the element earth they are solid and strong, endure all kinds of hardships, and are productive. They rely primarily on their muscles, bones, and nerves, which belong to the earth element. The use of food that is old, packaged, stale, and heavy (tamasik) makes them somewhat heavy and lethargic. They have no direction and need help in making decisions. They can follow orders without any hitch or difficulty, but cannot order others effectively. First-chakra persons are attracted to the worship of ghosts and awesome deities. They love rewards and are scared of punishment. They are humble and respectful to their boss or officers, but harsh to their subordinates and tough on their colleagues. When a first-chakra person enters the race of competition, he or she succeeds through physical strength, muscle power, endurance, and vigor. Greed becomes the main problem.

Normally a child fr om the ages of one to seven years acts out of first-chakra motivations. The earth is being grasped as a new experience. Mother and father are symbols of security. The young child will be self-centered and highly concerned with his or her own physical survival. When there is a threat to his or her security, a child or a first-chakra person can become violent, causing many problems. A fearful person may strike out blindly and senselessly, like a cornered animal, due to what is felt to be a loss of basic (mula) security. Tightened jaws and fists are their usual stance when they are surrounded by various kinds of people. Strength is their best friend and weakness of any kind their worst enemy. Persons dominated by this chakra generally sleep between ten and twelve hours nightly on their stomach, eat more, talk less, are mindless or absent minded, and do not live according to natural laws (are not health food conscious). They should be introduced to better ways of living and eating which will reduce their fear. Like children, they need guidance.

Muladhara Chakra is the seat of the coiled Kundalini and is the root of all growth and awareness of human divinity. However, when this chakra becomes a hang-up that prevents energy fr om flowing in higher centers, it makes one very selfcentered, cruel, and violent. It can make people become criminals or lead them to take jobs such as that of a soldier or policeman wh ere they act out their basic problems and, by virtue of the authority vested in them, be violent and cruel without being criminals. The only cure is to follow the yamas and niyamas (restraints and practices) and live in accordance with natural laws, having food, sleep, and sex in moderation. One should practice pranayama (the control of prana) and keep the physical system free fr om foul smells which make the apana more toxic.


SVADHISHTHANA CHAKRA (SECOND CHAKRA)

Meanings of the Names: Dwelling Place of the Self (sva– self or prana, adhisthana – dwelling place), Six-Petaled
Location: Genital region, hypogastric plexus
Seed Sounds of the Petals: BANG, BHANG, MANG, YANG, RANG, LANG Aspects: Procreation, family, fantasy, creativity, sensuality
Element (Tattva): Water
Color of the Element: Color of water: transparent, white, light blue
Shape (Yantra) of the Element: Circle, like a drop of water
Predominant Sense: Taste Sense
Organ: Tongue
Work Organ: Genitals Air (Vayu, Prana): Apana Plane (Loka): Astral plane (Bhuvar Loka)
Ruling Planet: Mercury (lunar, feminine)

Yantra Form: The circle with crescent. The circle, representing the element water, is to be colored white. The crescent inside the circle is associated with the moon and so it is colored silver. The combination of the crescent moon with the circle in the yantra of the Svadhishthana Chakra clearly establishes the relationship between water and the moon. Three-fourths of the earth is covered with water, and almost three-fourths of the weight of the human body is water, which is present as blood, mucus, urine, saliva, lymph, and other fluids. Water is intimately connected with the moon, which is shown by the influence of the lunar cycle on ocean tides. The waxing and waning of the moon also influences our body chemistry and our emotions. The moon plays a great role in the life of a second-chakra person who goes through many emotional fluctuations during the changing phases of the moon. Because the Svadhishthana Chakra is associated with the genitals, it is connected with procreation, which is directly related to the moon. The menstrual cycle of women mirrors the monthly cycle of the moon.

The Circle with Six Petals. Outside the white circle representing the element are six lotus petals. The color of these petals is a mixture of vermilion with deep red (carmine or scarlet). The six petals represent six important mental modifications: affection (indulgence), suspicion, disdain, delusion, destructiveness, and pitilessness.

Seed Sound (Bija Mantra): VANG. The concentration should be on the image of the second chakra when the seed sound VANG is repeated. Water sounds enhance the power of this seed sound: when the bija mantra is repeated in the presence of the water element it enhances the production and circulation of fluids in the body. When the bija mantra VANG is repeated in conjunction with the seed sounds of the six petals (BANG, BHANG, MANG, YANG, RANG, and LANG), the chakra energy is purified and is able to clear away many blocks in the lower regions of the body.

Carrier (Vahana) of the Seed Sound: Crocodile (Sanskrit - makara). The crocodile represents sexual vigor. It is an animal that moves with a serpentine motion, depicting the sensuous nature of the second-chakra person. The fat of the crocodile was once used to increase virility in men. The crocodile captures its prey through many tricks. It enjoys floating and diving deep beneath the water. The crocodile’s habits of hunting, trickery, sunbathing on beaches, floating, and fantasizing are qualities of a person obsessed by a second-chakra mind. The English saying “to shed crocodile tears” is also known in Indian languages, and refers to a false display of emotions.

Deity: Vishnu, the lord of preservation. Brahma creates, but after creation comes preservation. Preservation is aided by the vital life force (prana) and several energies that operate together to help the organism grow and flourish. These life-giving energies are different divinities that reside inside the body. All these gods and sub-gods are Vishnu-energy. Vishnu’s skin is cerulean blue and he wears a dhoti of golden yellow. A green scarf covers his four arms. Vishnu embodies the principles of right living. His nature is that of lila (play, divine sport). He is also the hero of the cosmic drama.
In his four arms Vishnu holds four implements that are essential for the full enjoyment of life through accomplishment of the four padarthas (objects of achievement): wealth (artha), code of conduct or law (dharma), enjoyment of beauty (kama), and liberation (moksha):
  Shankh, the conch shell, contains the sound of ocean waves and represents the pure sound (mantra) that brings liberation (moksha) to human beings. The conch is the principle of the void (akasha). Its color is white.
  Chakra is the golden ring of light (consciousness), spinning on the index finger of Vishnu’s upper right hand. In continuous movement around its axis, staying firm and true to its revolution, it symbolizes dharma, natural law. This wheel of dharma (dharma chakra) revolves on the axis of the power of preservative energy. Its steady revolution creates the cycle of time, the cosmic rhythm, the dance of preservation. Whatever is not in conformity with this cosmic rhythm must automatically come to an end. The chakra cuts through obstacles such as ignorance and irreverence and destroys disharmony and imbalance.
  Gada, the mace or club, symbolizes the power to control. The mace is a tool to break through obstacles. It is made of metal, which is earth and its color is metallic silver. When Vishnu is depicted as holding it in his lower right hand, it means that the control of earth and its immense wealth are in his power. Through his gada, Vishnu has the power of maintaining the world. It also signifies that earthly security in the form of monetary wealth (artha) is the first requirement before sexual desires (kama) can be fulfilled.
  Padma, the lotus of pale pink color held in Vishnu’s left hand, is a symbol of purity. A lotus grows in the mud, yet remains luminous, radiant, and graceful, completely unaffected by its environment. The lotus is also a symbol of beauty and the enjoyment of beauty (kama).

Shakti: Rakini. Her skin is pale pink or red. However, Kularnava and Tantra Khat Chakra Nirupana describe her color as being like the color of the dark blue lotus, black, lustrous, and frightful with prominent teeth. She wears a red sari and jewels encircle her neck and four arms. Her scarf is light and dark blue. The first inspiration of art and music comes from Rakini Shakti. In her four arms Rakini holds the following implements:
  An arrow. Shot from the bow of Kama, the lord of erotic love, this arrow depicts the concentration of desire upon its object. Desire can make a person one-pointed by keeping energy from flowing in many directions. But such one-pointedness is not a permanent feature of the character of a second-chakra person. It persists only as long as the arrow does not hit the desired target. The arrow also indicates the impetus for upward movement within this chakra. The arrow of Rakini is the arrow of feelings and emotions that bring both pleasure and pain as duality arises.
  A skull. The skull symbolizes the nature of the romantic, who “bears his head on his hand”, with emotions ruling his behavior. It also indicates freedom from the fear of death, which adds to the romantic nature of a second-chakra person.
  A drum (damaru). The drum represents sound (mantra) and rhythm. Rhythm makes the body move in dance form, and dance is a powerful tool of expression for the second-chakra person.
  An ax (parashu). The ax symbolizes removal of deeply rooted unspiritual qualities. The ax is a most ancient tool, if not the first. With it, Rakini Shakti cuts through all the obstacles within the second chakra that block the path of further growth of the personality.

The two heads of Rakini represent the split energy of the second chakra. They indicate the duality between “I” and the other. The efforts and energy of the second chakra person are spent on attaining a balance between the world without and the world within. In the first chakra the basic goals were to pursue monetary security and muscle power. The attention was linear and followed a single direction. In the second chakra the attention is diverted to desires, fantasies of a sexual nature, and creativity.

Effects of Meditation:
Meditation on the Svadhishthana Chakra enables the mind to reflect the world as the moon reflects the sun. One acquires the ability to use creative and sustaining energy to elevate one self to refined arts and pure relationships with others, having become free of lust, anger, greed, unsettledness, and jealousy. When Lord Vishnu, who is beneficent with a countenance of the purest nature, is visualized, a feeling of peacefulness ensues, as still as a lake. Meditation on the second chakra also increases personal magnetism, refinement in behavior, freedom from diseases of the body, and longevity.

Behavioral Characteristics in the Svadhishthana Chakra: Normally a person between the ages of eight and fourteen acts from second-chakra motivation. He or she will sleep eight to ten hours nightly in a fetal position. Like earth dissolving into water, the child begins to reach out to his family and friends for physical contact, instead of standing alone and defensive, as he did in the first chakra. The imagination increases. Once the need for food and shelter is met, the person is free to visualize any environment and circumstance that he or she desires. Sexuality enters into relationships as a new awareness of the physical body evolves. A second-chakra person often pretends to be a prince or princess, hero or heroine, changes roles, maintains a high self-esteem, and is chivalrous. Excitement is sought in physical beauty, rhythmic movement, thrilling music, nudes and stories and poems heralding royal heroes and heroines, destroyers of evil. The media provide lots of material for excitement and enjoyment for the second-chakra person. Svadhishthana Chakra encompasses the astral plane, the space between heaven and earth, as well as the planes of entertainment, fantasy, nullity, jealousy, mercy, and joy (in the company of the opposite sex only). Here the earth becomes a jewel and heaven is within reach. Art, music, and poetry are attractive and meaningful. The second chakra also includes nullity, a state of emptiness and purposelessness. When the world is seen as an obstacle, social laws as restrictions, and discipline as unwanted control, the negative mind starts working. Nothing excites, nothing pleases, pessimism takes over, and suicidal tendencies develop. Envy and jealousy arise from the desire to possess the time or qualities of others. This results in states of restlessness, anxiety, and destructiveness. The desire for physical sensation and mental fantasies can cause a problem for the person at this level. Inventing stories to get attention, telling lies, false self-esteem and keeping bad company can cause strain. Just as water flows from higher levels to lower levels, the second chakra can have a downward whirlpool effect on the psyche. If the person is to remain healthy and balanced, the natural limitations of the body and mind must be understood and respected. Eating, sleeping, and sex must be regulated in order to attain a harmonious, peaceful state.


MANIPURA CHAKRA (THIRD CHAKRA)
Meanings of the Names: City of Jewels or Gems (mani - jewel or gem, pura - dwelling place)
Location: The part of the vertebral column that corresponds to the navel region
Element (Tattva): Fire
Color of the Element: Red, like fire or the rising sun
Shape (Yantra) of the Element: Triangle (downward-pointing)
Seed Sound (Bija Mantra )of the Element: RANG
Seed Sounds of the Petals: DANG, DHANG, RLANG (palatal sounds); TANG, THANG, DANG, DHANG (dental sounds); NANG, PANG, PHANG (labial sounds)
Aspects: Vision, form, color, ego
Predominant Sense: Sight Sense
Organ: Eyes
Work Organ: Feet and legs Air (Vayu, Prana): Saman, the air that dwells in the upper abdominal region in the area of the navel, helping the digestive system to produce, assimilate and distribute the essence of food to the entire body
Plane (Loka): Celestial plane (Sva or Svarga Loka)
Ruling Planet: Sun (solar, masculine)

Yantra Form: Inverted triangle that is fiery red in color. The red triangle is located inside a circle surrounded by ten lotus petals. The triangle is the symbol for the fire element. Through this element, manifested energy is given a form (rupa). The triangle is the simplest rigid geometric form: it needs only three sides, and yet it is an entity in itself. The inverted triangle suggests the movement of energy downward.

The Circle with Ten Petals:
Each petal represents one aspect of Braddha Rudra (Old Shiva), the deity of this chakra. They are these at often mental modifications: spiritual ignorance, thirst, jealousy, treachery, shame, fear, disgust, delusion, foolishness, and sadness. The ten petals also depict the ten pranas (prana, apana, samana, vyana, udana, naag, dhananjaye, devdutta, kurma, and krikil). The color of the petals is blue, like the blue flame of the most luminous part of a fire.

Seed Sound (Bija Mantra): RANG. This sound is produced by forming a triangular shape with the lips and pushing the tongue against the palate. The main point of concentration when producing this seed sound is on the third chakra. The sound originates from the navel when repeated in a proper manner. The sound RANG increases the digestive fire, which enhances assimilation and absorption. It contributes to longevity, the main goal of a person motivated by the third chakra. The nature of fire is to move upwards and the repetition (japa) of the mantra RANG, when produced properly, helps the upward movement of Kundalini. This bija mantra should be visualized as always seated in the downward-pointing triangle.

Carrier (Vahana) of the Seed Sound: The ram is the carrier of the seed sound RANG. The ram is a vehicle of the fire god, Agni, and is also associated with the planet Mars. The ram depicts the nature of a third-chakra person. The ram is famous for physical strength and stamina in fighting. A fighter, it charges its opponents head-on and does not give up easily. As the Manipura Chakra is ruled by the sun, intellectual power plays an important role in the behavior of third-chakra persons. Like the ram, they walk with a proud air, as if drunk with vanity, and move towards their desired target without thinking about the consequences. They have great organizational abilities and, with the help of the intellect and power of expression, they are able to get a group of people to help them. They are very concerned about being fashionable and in tune with the time, with whatever is the latest.

Deity: Braddha Rudra (Old Shiva). Rudra, the wrathful form of Shiva, rules the Southern direction and represents the power of destruction. Destruction of one cycle of creation is also the beginning of the next cycle. At the end of each cycle, all that exists returns to him. Rudra is red with anger but he appears to be white or grayish-white because his body is smeared with ashes. Although Shiva’s skin is camphor blue or red in other manifestations, Braddha Rudra should be meditated upon as an ash-colored deity. He has a shining white beard like a rishi. He is seated on a tiger skin smeared with ashes and is dressed in a tiger skin. The tiger represents the mind (manas).

Shakti: Lakini Devi. She has three faces, indicating that the scope of vision in the third chakra encompasses three planes, the physical, the astral, and the celestial. Her three heads also represent the mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), and I-consciousness (ahamkara). Her color is orange red, peach red, or pink according to Kankalmalini Tantra, although in Khat Chakra Nirupana she is said to have a dark complexion, large teeth, and an awesome appearance. According to Kankalmalini Tantra she is beautiful like the moon, adorned with ornaments, with bright shining eyes that are painted with collyrium. The color of her sari is said to be radiating light blue, even though the author of commentaries on the Khat Chakra Nirupana states that it is yellow. Lakini has four arms. In her upper right hand she holds the fire of purification in a fire pot. It indicates the energy of fire as well as the physical heat that emanates from within the body. Her lower right hand forms the hand gesture of granting fearlessness and boons, abhai mudra. In her upper left hand she holds a thunder bolt (vajra) from which energy is always emanating. In her lower left hand she holds an arrow, which symbolizes the impetus for the upward movement of energy. An arrow has a goal, a target to be shot at. The arrow of the second chakra is shot from the bow of Kama, the lord of sexuality and sensuality. The arrow in the third chakra is shot by the desires for accomplishment, freedom, independence, and authority.

Effects of Meditation: Meditation on the third chakra brings an end to indigestion, constipation, and all problems of the intestinal region. Heat makes the blood thin so that it circulates better. Thus meditation on Manipura Chakra provides for a long, healthy life. The fluidity given by the second chakra here assumes the form of practicality. Fantasies are converted into practical devices through the help of the organizational power of this chakra. Through intellectual development, one achieves control over speech and can express ideas very effectively, giving one the power to command.

Behavioral Characteristics in the Manipura Chakra:
Young persons between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one are generally ruled by the third chakra. The behavior of a third-chakra person is motivated by desires for identification, recognition, power, and better living conditions. Such a person will sleep from six to eight hours nightly on his or her back. The ego is the main problem for this chakra. Although it exists in every chakra, the steering wheel of the ego changes. In the first chakra, it is steered by the employer, while in the second chakra, it is controlled by the opposite sex. In the third chakra, it becomes self-centered and strives for personal power, identification, and recognition, even to the detriment of family and friends. In the third chakra the ego feels proud of the ability to control. The third chakra encompasses the planes of karma, charity, atonement for one’s errors, good company, bad company, selfless service, sorrow, dharma, and the celestial plane. It is the seat of the fire element, which manifests as angry looks, fiery temperament, and dashing personality. Balance in the Manipura Chakra can be achieved by selfless service, serving without desire for reward. Every person must be aware of his or her actions in order to achieve balance in life. Charity will clarify one’s path of action or karma. Dharma is the timeless law of nature (inner and outer) that interconnects all phenomenal existence. By following the yogic path one can remain true to one’s dharma, aiding relationships with others to become more stable and clear. After this balance is achieved, the person may enter the celestial plane, the plane of illumination.


ANAHATA CHAKRA (FOURTH CHAKRA)

Meanings of the Names: Unstruck, Heart Lotus (hrit - heart, pankaja - lotus)
Location: The heart region of the vertebral column, the cardiac plexus
Element (Tattva): Air
Color of the Element: Colorless, gray or smoky green
Shape (Yantra) of the Element: Hexagram or six-pointed star
Seed Sound (Bija Mantra) of the Element: YANG
Seed Sounds of the Petals: KANG, KHANG, GANG, GHANG, YONG, CANG, CHANG, JANG, JHANG, UANG, TANG, THANG
Aspects: Balance
Predominant Sense: Touch Sense
Organ: Skin
Work Organ: Hands Air (Vayu, Prana): Prana, the air that we breathe, rich in life-giving negative ions, dwelling in the chest region
Plane (Loka): The plane of balance (Maha Loka)
Ruling Planet: Venus (lunar, feminine)

Yantra Form: The hexagram or six-pointed star symbolizes the air element, which moves in all four directions as well as upward and downward. Air is the vital life-force (prana). It aids the functions of the lungs and the heart, circulating fresh oxygen and vital energy. The star is composed of two overlapping, intersecting triangles. One points upward, symbolizing Shiva, the male principle. The other triangle points downward and symbolizes Shakti, the female principle. The star represents the balance that is attained when these two principles are joined in harmony. The star also symbolizes the balancing of energy in the Heart Chakra between the three chakras above it and the three chakras below it. Motivated by love, the desire for sharing, and sympathy, energy can move either downward or upward.

The Circle with Twelve Petals: The star of Anahata Chakra is surrounded by a circle. Twelve deep red (vermilion) lotus petals fold outward from the circle, representing the movement of energy in twelve directions. Energy flows to and from the petals with inhalation and exhalation, activating the twelve mental modifications: hope, anxiety, endeavor, possessiveness, arrogance, incompetence, discrimination, egoism, lustfulness, fraudulence, indecision, and repentance (as stated in the Mahanirvana Tantra).

The Circle with Eight Petals: Inside of the yantra there is an additional eight-petaled lotus that is luminous red, like molten gold. It is situated to the right of the physical heart. In its center a heart is shown that represents the spiritual or etheric heart known as Ananda Kanda (Space of Bliss) or Hrit Pundarik (Heart Lotus). In the waking state, the physical heart works but the spiritual heart remains dormant. In the dream state, energy from the spiritual heart flows toward the eight petals of the lotus, generating desires and emotional states that are experienced in the waking state.

Seed Sound (Bija Mantra): YANG. The seed sound of the air element is produced with the tongue resting in the air within the mouth after touching the palate. When this sound is produced properly the spiritual heart vibrates and any blocks in the cardiac region are opened. This bija mantra gives one control over air, prana, and the breath. YANG is a radiant gold color and is the sound form of the deity Vayu, the lord of the air, who has four arms.

Carrier (Vahana) of the Seed Sound: Black antelope or musk deer. The deer or black antelope is the symbol of the heart itself. The antelope is restless, leaps up with joy, and is caught by mirages and reflections. Graceful and gentle, the deer depicts the nature of a fourth-chakra person. The eyes of the deer are symbolic of purity and innocence. The eyes of a fourth-chakra person are equally attractive, innocent, and pure. The deer is said to die for pure sound. The love of inner sounds (anahata nada) is the love of a fourth-chakra person.

Deity: Ishana Rudra Shiva. The lord of the Northeast, Ishana Shiva is completely detached from the world. Ishana is peaceful and beneficent, representing the nature of the fourth-chakra person, which is of perpetual happiness. The holy Ganga (Ganges) flowing from the locks of his hair is a cooling and purifying stream of self-knowledge, the knowledge that “I am That” (Aham Brahmasmi, “I am Brahman”). He is camphor blue and wears a tiger skin, symbolic of the tiger of the mind that dwells in the forest of desires. He holds a trident in his right hand and a drum in his left. The snakes coiled around his body are the passions, which he has tamed. Ishana Rudra Shiva symbolizes that the fourth-chakra person no longer has any attachments to worldly pleasures, honors, or humiliations. Desires have ceased to cause problems, for the energy of the fourth chakra is balanced in all six directions. The person of fourth-chakra awareness lives in harmony with the internal and external worlds.

Shiva in Bana Lingam: The Bana Lingam radiates with golden light and is formed from a mass of tissues in the nerve center at the Anahata Chakra. Rudra Shiva appears in it as Sada Shiva (sada - eternal, shiva - benefactor). He is Shabda Brahma, or the eternal Logos. As such he is Omkara, the combination of the three gunas (qualities) represented by the sounds A, U, and M, which combine to form the sacred syllable AUM or OM. He stands with a trident, also symbolic of the three gunas: sattva (equanimity, lightness), rajas (mobility, passion), and tamas (inertia, darkness). His skin is camphor blue, and he is often shown wearing a golden tiger skin. The drum (damaru) that he holds in his other hand maintains the rhythm of the heartbeat. This shivalingam, known as Bana (arrow) Lingam, is the second lingam in the chakras. In the first chakra, the Svayambhu Lingam with the Kundalini serpent wrapped around it symbolized the male and female energies, while the lingam in this chakra is synonymous with conscience. The force of the Heart Lingam acts as a guru, giving warning or inspiration at each step to guide one along the path of upward energy movement. To heed its guidance, one should keep watch on the heartbeat, for an increase or decrease in the heart rate serves as a warning that there is an error in one’s practice. The Heart Chakra is revered as a center of devotion and transformation in many spiritual traditions. It shines like a jewel in the center of the spine, the garland of chakras (chakramala), with three chakras above and three chakras below. It is mentioned in tantric, puranic, and vedic scriptures under several different names. Sufis and mystics of other traditions instruct their disciples to visualize a clear light in the heart when beginning the practice of raising the Kundalini force and entering higher states of consciousness. It is here that anahata nada, or shabda brahma - the unstruck cosmic sound - is produced.

Shakti: Kakini. The doorkeeper of the Anahata Chakra, Kakini is rose-colored, although the Mahanirvana Tantra describes her as being golden yellow or Naples yellow and the Kankalmalini Tantra describes her as being white. She has beautiful glittering eyes and is dressed in a light blue sari. Luminous and adorned with golden ornaments, she symbolizes the energy of the fourth chakra, which is self-generating and self-emanating. In her four hands Kakini Shakti holds the implements necessary for attaining balance:
  The sword, which provides the means to cut through obstacles blocking the upward flow of energy.
  The shield, which protects the aspirant from external worldly conditions.
  The skull, which indicates detachment from a false identification with the body.
  The trident, which symbolizes the balance of the three forces of preservation, creation, and destruction. Kakini Shakti is all-pervading in the fourth chakra. Like air, she penetrates all places and provides energy to the entire body through the emotional frequencies of devotion (bhakti). In this chakra, bhakti is personified as Kundalini Shakti, who aids Kakini Shakti in directing the upward movement of energy. Kakini Shakti is auspicious, joyful, and the benefactress of all. She has four faces, each of them beautiful like the moon. Kakini Shakti is meditated upon as a “moon-faced” (chandramukhi), four-headed goddess. Energy flows equally through her four heads into the four aspects of the individual self: the physical self, the rational self, the sensual self, and the emotional self. She is the goddess responsible for the creation of devotional poetry, devotional music, and visionary art. Mundane art, poetry, and music, inspired by the Shakti of the second chakra, is unable to elevate the human mind to the higher realms of consciousness, instead serving only to entertain, distract, and stimulate the mind. In contrast, the creativity inspired by Kakini Devi is synchronized with the rhythm of the heart, and thus with the rhythm of the cosmos. It is universal and transcends the limitations of past, present, and future, giving form to the formless, name to the nameless, and audibility to the inaudible. Art, poetry, and music created under the influence of Kakini bring calmness to the mind and peace to the ego and the intellect. At times, this creativity can be so absorbing that the sense of I-consciousness dissolves away.

Kundalini Shakti
: Kundalini Shakti appears as a beautiful goddess for the first time in the Anahata Chakra. She sits in a lotus posture (padmasana) within a triangle. The triangle is pointing upward, showing the tendency of Kundalini Shakti to move upward and carry the aspirant into the higher planes of existence. Dressed in a white sari, Kundalini Shakti is serene and centered within herself. She is the personification of selfless spiritual devotion (bhakti), absorbed in meditation on her Lord, and is on her way to union with him. She no longer represents a destructive serpentine force as she did in the first chakra. Instead of being coiled around the lingam, she sits independently in a yogic posture. She appears as a young girl, luminous, divine, and enchanting. The aspirant may now communicate with her, gain her favor, and be absorbed in her upward-moving energy. Seated in the lotus posture, Kundalini Shakti embodies anahata nada, the cosmic sound that is present everywhere and is known as “white noise.” This sound begins in the Heart Chakra as AUM, the seed of all sounds (shabda brahma).

Effects of Meditation: By evolving through the fourth chakra, one masters language, poetry and all verbal endeavors. One gains full control of one’s work organs and sense organs (indriyas), the mind, desires, and physiological functions. Male and female energies become balanced, and the interaction of these two energies out-side the body ceases to be a problem, as all relationships become pure. Gaining wisdom and inner strength, the sadhaka becomes master (swami) of his or her own self. A person centered in the fourth chakra has evolved beyond circumstantial and environmental limitations to become independent and self-emanating. The love and compassion of fourth-chakra persons makes them a source of inspiration to others who find peace and calm in their presence. Fourth-chakra persons worship with love and find love as God everywhere in everything. Faith in them-selves and the divine makes them a source of faith for others, even non-believers and atheists. They are harmless and everybody feels secure in their presence.

Behavioral Characteristics of the Anahata Chakra: From twenty-one to twenty-eight years of age, one vibrates in the Anahata Chakra, becoming aware of one’s role, one’s actions, and one’s life’s goal. Dedication, devotion (bhakti), faith, and self-confidence are the motivating forces as one strives to achieve balance at all levels. They will sleep four to six hours nightly, on their left side. Following a spiritual path makes it easy for a fourth-chakra person to realize the truth beyond words. Surrender to a guru or dedicating one’s life to a cause such as that of removing suffering or ignorance helps one to restrain oneself from running after mirages like an antelope, being restless, wandering, and purposeless. The movement of fourth-chakra persons is rhythmic and graceful and love can be seen flowing constantly through their eyes, touch, hand gestures—their whole person. They are both childlike and wise, respectful and respected by all. The Anahata Chakra encompasses sudharma (apt or right religion), good tendencies, and the planes of sanctity, balance, and fragrance (the bodies of fourth-chakra persons smell good naturally). However, purgatory may be experienced in the Anahata Chakra when negative karmas are enacted. Clarity of consciousness is the illumination of the pure one who has developed good tendencies and has sanctified his or her life at Jana Loka, the human plane, which comes in the fifth chakra.


VISHUDDHA CHAKRA (FIFTH CHAKRA)

Meanings of the Names:
Pure, Throat Lotus (kanth - throat, padma - lotus), Sixteen-petaled (shodash - sixteen, dala - petals)
Location: Neck region, throat; carotid plexus, the cervical part of the spinal column that corresponds to the neck
Element (Tattva): Akasha
Color of the Element: Smoky purple
Shape (Yantra) of the Element: Crescent
Seed Sound (Bija Mantra) of the Element: HANG Carrier (Vahana) of the Seed Sound: Elephant (gaja) Color of the Petals: Lavender gray, smoky purple
Seed Sounds of the Petals: ANG, NG, ING, NG, UNG, NG, ING, ING, RING, R NG, ENG, AING, ONG, AUNG, ANG, AHANG
Aspects: Knowledge
Predominant Sense: Hearing
Sense Organ: Ears
Work Organ: Mouth, vocal cords Air (Vayu, Prana): Udana, the air that dwells in the throat and head region that carries air up through the head, aiding in the production of sound
Plane (Loka): Human plane (Jana Loka) wh ere the great spiritual darkness ends
Ruling Planet: Jupiter

Yantra Form: The crescent, with a white circle inside of it. The circle represents the nabhomandala (nabha - sky or void, mandala - region). It is like a full moon shining in the pericarp of the Vishuddha Chakra. The silver crescent is the lunar symbol of nada, pure cosmic sound. Thus the void (akasha) is inside of the pure essence (tanmatra) of sound (nada). The crescent is a symbol of purity and akasha is the purest of all the elements. Purification is a vital aspect of the Vishuddha Chakra, as is pure knowledge (shuddha vidya), known in Tantra as the ten Mahavidyas or Sri Vidya. The moon in any of its aspects implies psychic energy, clairvoyance, and communication without words. The moon also depicts the presence of a cooling mechanism in the throat by which all liquids and foods are brought to a temperature suited to the body.

The Circle with Sixteen Petals: The sixteen lotus petals around the crescent and circle are lavender gray or smoky purple. There are sixteen specific qualities (vritties) on the sixteen petals of the Vishuddha Chakra. Most of them are connected to musical sound, frequencies in a harmonic scale, and mantras used for the invocation of divinities within the body. The increase in the number of petals around the yantra comes to an end at this chakra. At the Vishuddha Chakra, the aspirant gets a vision of the void (akasha), which is of the nature of anti-matter. Akasha is also the holder of all existence and is thus also translated as space. Akasha is generated by the principle (tanmatra) of sound. In the Vishuddha Chakra all the elements of the lower chakras are refined to their purest essence and dissolved in akasha, depicted by the circle and crescent at the top of the temple (stupa) within the body (see diagram). The influence of the elements (mahabhutas or tattvas) ceases after the fifth chakra and the aspirant becomes a tattvatit, one who has gone beyond the grip of the elements.

Seed Sound (Bija Mantra): HANG. The sound HANG is produced by forming an oval shape with the lips and pushing the air outward from the throat. Concentration is centered in the hollow curve of the lower neck. When this sound is produced properly, it vibrates the brain and causes the cerebrospinal fluid to flow more freely into the throat region, bringing sweet and melodious qualities to the voice. The color of the bija mantra HANG is gold, although it is also described as being of radiant white color with four arms. Spoken words come from the fifth chakra, giving expression to the emotions within the heart. The voice of a fifth-chakra person penetrates to the heart of the listener. This pure sound affects the listener by changing the space (akasha) of his or her mind and being.

Carrier (Vahana) of the Seed Sound:
The elephant (gaja), the lord of herbivorous animals. The most primitive of surviving mammals, it carries the entire past knowledge of earth, herbs, and plants. The elephant is considered to be one who teaches patience, memory, self-confidence, and the enjoyment of synchronicity with nature. It is smoky gray in color, the color of the clouds, although it is sometimes shown as a snow elephant of white color. The confidence and consciousness about sound that come in the Vishuddha Chakra are indicated by the graceful gait and large ears of the elephant. The single trunk represents pure sound.

Deity: Panchavaktra Shiva. Panchavaktra is a combination of all the shiva-energies, which work in different directions and in the different elements. His five heads represent the five tanmatras (principles) as well as the five elements that evolve from them: earth from gandha (smell), water from rasa (taste), fire from rupa (sight), air from sparsha (touch), and akasha from shabda (sound). Here they are united in one body. Beginning with his right side, the faces of Shiva symbolize his aspects as follows:
 Aghora, the lord of the North. He is wide-eyed in his wrathful form and resides in the cremation ground. His face is rounded and his nature is that of akasha.
 Ishana, the lord of the Northeast. He appears in shrines as a shivalingam. His face is round and his nature is that of water.
 Tat Purusha, the lord of the East. His oval face is the central one of the five. His nature is that of air. Tat Purusha is Mahadeva. He is always seen in meditation, wh ere he has controlled prana and achieved kevala kumbhaka (automatic breath suspension).
 Vama Deva, the eternal Shiva who expands in all directions. He has a square face and his nature is that of earth. Vama Deva is Sada Shiva, represented as the lord or giver of left-handed Tantra (bhoga for yoga).
 Saddyojat, the lord of the South. His face is triangular and his nature is that of fire. Saddyojat is Rudra, the wrathful deity in the third chakra. He is shown as Braddha Rudra (Old Shiva), but usually he is portrayed as the awesome youthful Shiva. Panchavaktra is shown with four arms. His upper right hand is in a gesture of abhai mudra, granting fearlessness. In his lower right hand, resting on his knee, he holds a mala (rosary) for japa (mantra repetition). His lower left hand holds a damaru which drones continuously, producing the fourteen sounds known as Maheshvara Sutras, from which all the vowels and consonants of the Sanskrit language evolve. The continuous sound of the drum also creates the sound AUM in its overtones. His upper left hand holds a trident, the staff of Shiva, which symbolizes the three gunas (sattva, rajas, and tamas) and the three Nadis (Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna).
Panchavaktra may be visualized in the fifth chakra as the Great Teacher or Master Guru. In him, all the elements have dissolved into one. The fifth-chakra person thus understands the limitations of each element and the human plane in its totality. The awareness of eternal knowledge is grasped when all desires move upward into the sixth chakra. Centering by balancing all of the bodily elements brings a state of blissful non-duality. Through meditation on Panchavaktra, one is elevated and cleansed from all karmas; one dies to the past and is born again into the realization of oneness.

Shakti: Shakini. The doorkeeper of the Vishuddha Chakra, Shakini is an embodiment of purity. She is splendorous, delightful, and peace giving. Her five heads indicate the five senses connected with the lower five chakras and their respective elements. Her skin is pale rose and she wears a sky blue sari with a green bodice. However, some sources describe her as being white, with yellow raiment, while others describe her as being red, with black raiment. We meditate on her as pale rose, with sky blue raiment, sitting in the lotus posture (padmasana) on a pink lotus. Her four arms hold the following objects:
 A skull, which is a symbol of detachment from the illusory world of sense perceptions.
 An ankusha, a staff used to control the elephant of intellect, which can be overly independent, moving in its own intoxication of knowledge.
 The scriptures, representing knowledge of the art of right living wit
out complexes.
 A rosary (mala), which acts as a powerful centering device when used as an accompaniment to mantra repetition. The beads are touched by the fingers, one by one. When the beads are made of wood or seeds, they absorb and retain the person’s own energy. When the beads are cut from crystals, gems, or other precious materials, they are highly charged with their own electromagnetic energy. The fingertips are directly related to consciousness, so engagement of the fingertips is the engagement of consciousness.
Working with the mala thus removes nervousness and distractions, and pacifies the internal dialogue. Shakini Shakti is the bestower of higher knowledge and siddhis (powers). Memory, ready wit, intuition, and improvisation are all related to Shakini Shakti. The fifth chakra is the center of dreams in the body and most of the teachings of Shakini Shakti are revealed to her aspirants through dreams.

Effects of Meditation: Meditation on the Vishuddha Chakra is centered on the hollow space in the throat region that represents the element akasha. Meditation on the Vishuddha Chakra gives calmness, serenity, purity, a melodious voice, the command of speech and mantras, and the ability to compose poetry. It makes one youthful, radiant (full of ojas), and capable of understanding the hidden messages in dreams. It confers the power of interpreting scriptures and of being a good teacher of spiritual sciences (Brahma Vidya, Shuddha Vidya, SriVidya).

Behavioral Characteristics in the Vishuddha Chakra:
The Vishuddha Chakra is the chakra of spiritual rebirth. It encompasses the five planes: physical, astral, celestial, balance, and human. It also includes jnana, awareness that bestows bliss; prana, the vital life force throughout the body that brings balance of all the elements; apana, the air that cleanses the body and is charged with negative ions; and vyana, the air that regulates the blood flow. The human plane (jana loka) becomes vital, enriched with mantras, musical sounds, and the sixteen harmonious qualities (vritties). Behavior is well defined in the lower chakras, but there are no distinct worldly characteristics in the fifth chakra, as it is only reached by spiritual teachers. Persons between the ages of twenty-eight and thirty-five are influenced by the Vishuddha Chakra. They sleep between four to six hours nightly, changing sides. I-consciousness and spiritual growth motivate the fifth-chakra person. The fifth-chakra aspirant seeks knowledge that is true, beyond the limitations of time, cultural conditioning, and genetic code. The main problem encountered in the fifth chakra is doubt or negative intellect. When knowledge is used unwisely, doubt comes, but when the aspirant trusts only what he or she can verify through meditation and experience, doubts are removed and negativity dissolves. Consciousness is still time-bound, but the disciplines of Ashtanga Yoga bring self-mastery and freedom from the fetters of worldliness. The Vishuddha Chakra is ruled by the planet Jupiter, which makes fifth-chakra persons interested in scriptures of ancient knowledge. Jupiter is called “guru” in Sanskrit, which means “dispeller of darkness.” The writings of fifth-chakra persons are like scriptures, revealing and illuminating. Their very presence removes ignorance by opening up channels of knowledge within their listeners, enabling them to receive illumination and be freed from darkness. Just as all elements dissolve in pure and self-luminous akasha, all worldliness dissolves in the presence of such a person, because the distractions created by the senses and mind cease to be a problem.


AJNA CHAKRA (SIXTH CHAKRA)

Meanings of the Names: Command, Point Between the Eyebrows (bhru - eyebrows, madhya - in between), Two-petaled Lotus (dvi - two, dal - petal, padma - lotus)
Location: Medulla plexus, pineal plexus, point between the eyebrows
Element (Tattva): Mahat or mahatattva (supreme or great element) in which all other