Chakra, sometimes spelled Cakra or Cakka, meaning “wheel circle” in sanskrit transliteration is any center of subtle body believed to be psychic-energy centers in the esoteric traditions of Indian religions.
The concept is found particularly in the tantric traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. They are conceived as an energy focal point, bodily functions or psychic node in the subtle body. The Chakra theories are elaborate part of the Kundalini system. These theories differ between the Indian religions, with esoteric Buddhist literature mentioning four Chakras, while esoteric Hindu texts stating seven.They are believed to be part of the subtle body, not the physical body, and connected by energy channels called Nadi. In the Kundalini version of yoga, breath exercises focus, in part, on mastering and channeling energy through Chakras.
Chakra is a part of esoteric medieval era theories about physiology and psychic centers that emerged across Indian traditions.The theory posited that human life simultaneously exists in two parallel dimensions, one "physical body" (sthula sarira) and other "psychological, emotional, mind, non-physical" it called the "subtle body" (suksma sarira). This subtle body is energy, while the physical body is mass. The psyche or mind plane corresponds to and interacts with the body plane, and the theory posits that the body and the mind mutually affect each other. The subtle body consists of nadi (energy channels) connected by nodes of psychic energy it called chakra. The theory grew into extensive elaboration, with some suggesting 88,000 cakras throughout the subtle body. The chakra it considered most important varied between various traditions, but they typically ranged between four and seven.
Ideas and practices involving so-called 'subtle bodies' have existed for many centuries in many parts of the world. Virtually all human cultures known to us have some kind of concept of mind, spirit or soul as distinct from the physical body, if only to explain experiences such as sleep and dreaming. An important subset of subtle-body practices, found particularly in Indian and Tibetan Tantric traditions, and in similar Chinese practices, involves the idea of an internal 'subtle physiology' of the body (or rather of the body-mind complex) made up of channels through which substances of some kind flow, and points of intersection at which these channels come together. In the Indian tradition the channels are known as nadi and the points of intersection as cakra.
The important chakras are stated in Buddhist and Hindu texts to be arranged in a column along the spinal cord, from its base to the top of the head, connected by vertical channel. The tantric traditions sought to master them, awaken and energize them through various breathing exercises or with assistance of a teacher. These chakras were also symbolically mapped to specific human physiological capacity, seed syllables (bija), sounds, subtle elements (tanmatra), in some cases deities, colors and other motifs.
The chakra theories of Buddhism and Hinduism differs from the historic Chinese system of meridians in acupuncture. Unlike the latter, the chakra relates to subtle body, wherein it has a position but no definite nervous node or precise physical connection. The tantric systems envision it as a continually present, highly relevant and a means to psychic and emotional energy. It is useful in a type of yogic rituals and meditative discovery of radiant inner energy (prana flows) and mind-body connections. The meditation is aided by extensive symbology, mantras, diagrams, models (deity and mandala). The practitioner proceeds step by step from perceptible models, to increasingly abstract models where deity and external mandala are abandoned, inner self and internal mandalas are awakened.
There are several chakras in the body through which the life force or vital energy moves. These vast pools of energy govern the psychological qualities of a person. Among the several chakras, there are seven main chakras – four in the upper body that control the mental properties and three in the lower body that control the instinctual properties.
The chakras are usually connected with a certain color as well as with some part of consciousness.
A proper balance of all the chakras is important, as it contributes to a person’s well-being. If the chakras are not balanced, peace with oneself cannot be achieved.
These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centers in the body. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Since everything is moving, it’s essential that our seven main chakras stay open, aligned, and fluid. If there is a blockage, energy cannot flow. Think of something as simple as your bathtub drain. If you allow too much hair to go into the drain, the bathtub will back up with water, stagnate and eventually bacteria and mold will grow. So is too with our bodies and the chakras. A bathtub is simple; it’s physical so the fix is easy.
Keeping a chakra open is a bit more of a challenge, but not so difficult when you have awareness. Since mind, body, soul, and spirit are intimately connected, awareness of an imbalance in one area will help bring the others back into balance. Take for example, a wife, who has recently lost her husband. She develops acute bronchitis, which remains in the chest, and then gets chest pains each time she coughs. The whole heart chakra is affected in this case. If she realizes the connection between the loss and the bronchitis, healing will occur much faster if she honors the grieving process and treats that as well as the physical ailment
The Chakras are considered as meditation aids, wherein the yogi progresses from lower located Chakras to the highest Chakra blossoming in the crown of the head reflecting the journey of spiritual ascent. In both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, the Chakra are visualized with an energy goddess residing dormant in the lowest chakra, and one of the aims is to awaken her within. In Hindu texts she is known as Kundalini, while in Buddhist texts she is called Candali or Tummo (Tibetan: gtum mo, "fierce one"). While both systems associate deities with their chakra-knot systems (Tibetan: rtsa 'khor), the meditational goals are different: in Hindu systems, the aim to discover and realize the Shiva within. In Buddhist system, is to transcend the ordinary truth and discover the truth of the Buddha, or according to the Hevajra Tantra burn the conventional Buddhas and attain the Buddhahood of Hevajra.
The Seven Chakras:
Sahasrara (Sanskrit: सहस्रार, IAST: Sahasrāra, English: "thousand-petaled") or crown chakra is the topmost chakra in the subtle body, located in the crown of the head. In esoteric Hinduism and New Age western systems, it is generally considered to be the highest spiritual center and the state of pure consciousness, within which there is neither object nor subject. When the feminine Kundalini Shakti rises to this point, it unites with the masculine Shiva, the yogi or yogini achieves self realization and a state of liberating samadhi is attained. The chakra is symbolized by a lotus with one thousand multi-coloured petals.
In esoteric Buddhism, it is called Mahasukha and is generally considered to be the petal lotus of "Great Bliss" and corresponding to the fourth state of Four Noble Truths.
Ājñā, English: "command") also called guru chakra or third-eye chakra is the subtle center of energy, believed to be located between the eyebrows, located behind it along the subtle (non-physical) spinal column. It is so called because this is the spot where the tantra guru touches the seeker during the initiation ritual (saktipata). He or she commands the awakened kundalini to pass through this center.
It is symbolised by a lotus with two petals. It is at this point that the two side nadi Ida (yoga) and Pingala are said to terminate and merge with the central channel Sushumna, signifying the end of duality, the characteristic of being dual (e.g. light and dark, or male and female). It corresponds to the colours violet, indigo or deep blue, though it is traditionally described as white
Vishuddha (Sanskrit: विशुद्ध, IAST: Viśuddha, English: "especially pure"), or Vishuddhi, or throat chakra is located at the base of subtle body's throat. It is symbolized as a sixteen petaled lotus.The Vishuddha is iconographically represented as a silver crescent within a white circle, with 16 light or pale blue, or turquoise petals. The seed mantra is Ham, and the residing deity is Panchavaktra shiva, with 5 heads and 4 arms, and the Shakti is Shakini.
In esoteric Buddhism, it is called Sambhoga and is generally considered to be the petal lotus of "Enjoyment" and corresponding to the third state of Four Noble Truths.
Anahata (Sanskrit: अनाहत, IAST: Anāhata, English: "unstruck") or the heart chakra is the subtle center of inner divine melody, believed to be located next to heart, located behind it along the subtle spinal column. It is believed to be the psychic energy center.
It is symbolised by a lotus with twelve petals.It is represented as a circular flower with twelve green petals called the heartmind. Within it is a yantra of two intersecting triangles, forming a hexagram, symbolising a union of the male and female. The seed mantra is Yam, the presiding deity is Ishana Rudra Shiva, and the Shakti is Kakini.
In esoteric Buddhism, this Chakra is called Dharma and is generally considered to be the petal lotus of "Essential nature" and corresponding to the second state of Four Noble Truths.
Manipura (Sanskrit: मणिपूर, IAST: Maṇipūra, English: "jewel city") also called the nabhi chakra or the solar plexus/navel chakra, is located in the naval region along the subtle body's spinal column. For the Nath yogi meditation system, this is described as the Madhyama-Shakti or the intermediate stage of self discovery.
It is symbolised as a ten-petaled lotus. The Chakra is represented as a downward pointing triangle with ten petals, along with the colour yellow. The seed syllable is Ram, and the presiding deity is Braddha Rudra, with Lakini as the Shakti.
It is symbolised as a six-petaled lotus. Svadhisthana is represented with a white lotus within which is a crescent moon, with six vermilion, or orange petals. The seed mantra is Vam, and the presiding deity is Brahma, with the Shakti being Rakini (or Chakini).
In esoteric Buddhism, it is called Nirmana and is generally considered to be the petal lotus of "Creation" and corresponding to the first state of Four Noble Truths.
Muladhara (Sanskrit: मूलाधार, IAST: Mūlādhāra, English: "root support") or root chakra located at the base of the spine in the coccygeal region of the subtle body. This chakra is where the three main nadi separate and begin their upward movement. Dormant Kundalini is believed to be resting here, wrapped three and a half times around the black Svayambhu linga, the lowest of three obstructions to her full rising (also known as knots or granthis). It is symbolised as a four-petaled lotus. Muladhara is represented with the colour red.
The yogi starts his or her spiritual journey by focusing on this station. The seed syllable is Lam (pronounced lum), the deity is Ganesh,and the Shakti is Dakini. The associated animal is the elephant.
Hridhiya chakra (also known as hrid chakra) is measured from centre of Anahata chakra, two fingers to the left and continue with two finger down, whereby the heart beat can be felt. Talu chakra is located at behind of Reticular Formation at Fourth Ventrical before beginning of spinal cord. There are said to be 21 minor chakras which are reflected points of the major chakras.
There are said to be three chakras that are beyond the physical and spiritual. They are called Golata, Lalata, and Lalana and "located on the uvula at the back of the throat, above the Ajna chakra, and within the soft upper palate".
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