Friday, November 23, 2007
Nepalese painting, 18th century.
Image from Ballabene's Paranormal Pages
The above image as well as the following article are taken from:
Keep in mind that there is a vast library on chakras, written by many masters over several centuries. Often you will find contradictory information and sometimes confusing description. In general, there is agreement that there are chakras ("wheels") in the body located at the site of various nerve plexuses. Some contend that these sites are imaginary,simply metaphors for various human attributes. I know that they are real, for I have felt blissful energies in each of them at one time or another.
Some teachers insist that the purpose of the rising kundalini is to clear the blocks in the chakras in order that they may open and the energies rise to the crown, where enlightenment is attained as "ten thousand petals unfold." Others say that the rising kundalini simply "dissolves" the chakras, so when all are dissolved, enlightenment occurs. (In fact, some "energy healers" seek to dissolve the chakras and thus speed the client's progress to enlightenment, a process which I confess seems to me to confuse result with the cause.)
In my own very long process of unfolding kundalini (now in its twenty-sixth year), I have in fact found that at this stage I seldom feel energy in the chakras per se. Rather, I feel a kind of distributed energy flowing in various places, often in hands and arms and chest. Have my chakras "dissolved"? I have no idea.
Everyone's prcess follows a different pattern. The energies seem to have a consciousness of their own, and lead you where it is best for you to go.
Kheper's site is quite interesting and contains a wealth or information. Here, as always, we should read with a critical mind, and not accept any statement as true just because someone has said it.
Here is Kheper's article:
The Shakta Theory of Chakras
Developed Shakta doctrine postulates seven chakras (see image). These are called the Muladhara or "Root Support" at the base of the spine with four "petals", the Swadhishthana or "Own Abode" at the root of the genitals with six, the Manipura or "Fullness of Jewels" at the level of the navel with ten "petals", the Anahata or "Unstruck Melody" at the heart-centre with twelve, the Vishuddha or "Complete Purity" at the throat with sixteen, and finally the Ajna or "Guru's Command" at the brow with two "petals". The Crown centre, the Sahasrara=Padma or "Thousand Petalled-Lotus", located at the very top of the head, is technically speaking not a chakra at all, but the summation of all the chakras.
The chakras are strung along the central or Sushumna channel (usually located at the spine). In the lowest chakra, the Muladhara, at the base of the spine, there lies the kundalini-shakti, the latent consciousness-energy, the microcosm of the cosmic creative shakti. When this is aroused, it can be made to ascend the sushumna, either activating or dissolving (depending on the yogic tradition) each chakra in turn, until it reaches the highest or crown chakra, the Sahasrara, where dwells the Godhead or Supreme Shiva (Paramashiva). As the Kundalini-Shakti unites with Paramashiva, the original transcendent equilibrium is restored, and the yogi returns to the state of oneness with the Absolute.
The chakras are described as stations or centres of pure consciousness (chaitanya) and consciousness-power. They are focal points of meditation; iconographic structures within the occult or "subtle body". Apart from the Sahasrara, each chakra is described by means of a whole lot of symbolic associations or correspondences. Building upon the initial later Upanishads speculation, each chakra, as well as having a specific position in the physical body, element, mantra, and deity, also has a particular number of "petals", each associated with one of the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, a corresponding colour, shape, animal, plane of existence, sense-organ, mantric sound, and so on.
As is usually the case with intellectual esoteric systems, a lot of these correspondences are arbitrary, for example, smell and feet with Muladhara, taste and hand with Swadhishthana, sight and anus with Manipura, etc. These associations are all based on the Samkhyan sequence of tattwas and their attributes.
In addition to the seven major chakras arranged along the spine there are also chakras in the hands, feet, genitals, and so on. Also in addition to the seven major chakras, there are also a number of other chakras along the spine which are sometimes referred to. In his exhaustively detailed and definitive work on the chakras according to the traditional Indian understanding, Layayoga - an Advanced Method of Concentration, Shyam Sundar Goswami, citing numerous references, describes thirteen chakras altogether;(in addition to) the seven standard chakras there are six minor ones.
Reference is also made in all Tantric texts to the nadis or channels of vital)force (prana). According to the traditional Tantric teachings, the seven chakras are strung like pearls or jewels along the brilliant thin thread of the sushumna nadi, which is the primary nadi in the body. On either side of the sushumna are the two main secondary nadis: the white moon-like ida on the left, containing descending vitality (apana), and the red sun-like pingala on the right, containing ascending vitality (prana in the narrow sense of the term). The tantric yogi aims to direct the subtle airs from these two primary side channels into the central sushumna nadi, and so activate the latent Kundalini energy. This then ascends through each of the chakras in turn, and when it reaches the top of the head, the yogi attains Liberation
The understanding of the chakras and kundalini in the West derives largely from Sir John Woodroffe's The Serpent Power, a very technical work, first published in 1919 under the psuedonym Arthur Avalon. The first (and still one of of the only) serious books on the chakras and Kundalini yoga to be published in the West, it is actually a translation of two sixteenth century Bengali texts and their commentaries, together with Woodroffe's commentary.
In his own long and detailed introduction. Woodroffe's book - his own chapters cover Shakta metaphysics and cosmology, Patanjali Yoga, and Tantric practice, as well as the chakras themselves - is unfortunately very difficult for the beginner, but it served as the inspiration and chief reference text (usually without acknowledgment) for many Western occult-esoteric writers
Most Indian gurus incorporate the idea of chakras into their teachings; as part of a watered-down or westernised form of tantra.
Although the more widespread opinion places the Sahasrara chakra at the very top of the head, Goswami argues instead that this chakra (and another one below it called the Guru chakra) is actually located above the head, and the top-of-the-head position is taken instead by another chakra called the Nirvana chakra, with one hundred petals. Sri Aurobindo, although only referring to the standard seven chakras, likewise locates the Sahasrara above the head.
P. S. And, to add to the debate, the certain Tibetan Buddhist texts refer to five, rather than the usual seven, chakras.
Personally, I think this whole subject (like kundalini itself) deserves much more study. The bottom line is : When we feel bliss in the body, it is bliss and it is real, no matter what the theories may say.