Acharyasri Sachchidanand Trust

1. Kundalini yoga : What are the chakras?

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Kundalini yoga is not just for a few, but for the entire world. This is not a mysterious lore that ordinary people cannot learn or comprehend. In fact, Kundalini Yoga is a transcendental physiology which is very simple, but some so-called yogis have made it extremely complex and mysterious which results in ordinary people not learning it and being deprived of its benefits. The description of Kundalini Yoga is mainly found in the ‘hatha yoga books’ and ‘tantra Shastras’ but the tantra Shastras available at present are not completely authentic. Over a period of time there has been a lot of adulteration in these scriptures by some pseudo-scholars, so the seekers should study these scriptures with the help of an experienced teacher. We will here try to grasp those concepts of Kundalini Yoga which are not understood well by people in general. In Kundalini yoga, it is necessary to first know about the Chakras. What are these Chakras? How many are they and where are they situated in a human body? Most are confused about the number of Chakras and the reason for this confusion is the so-called yogis telling different numbers of chakras. To know exactly how many chakras are there in the body, it is necessary to study the Vedas because the Vedas are the most ancient and authentic texts of human history. The number of chakras in a mantra of the Atharvaveda is stated as follows-
“Ashtachakra Navadwara Dewanam Puryodhya,
Tasyaam Hiranyayah Koshah Swargo jyotishavritah.” (Atharvaveda: 10/2/31)
“It is an abode called Ayodhyapuri consisting of the eight chakras and the nine gates of devatas or gods (senses). In it is situated Hiranmaya Koshah which is a resplendent heavenly entity.”
The eight chakras mentioned in the above mantra of the Atharvaveda are as follows- Muladhara, Swadhisthan, Manipur, Anahata, Vishuddhi, Lalana, Agya and Sahastrar. These eight chakras are connected to the Brahmanadi, the innermost of the three nadis that constitute the Sushumna nadi. The Sushumna and the related nadis like Chitrani etc., and the eight chakras in it, are so subtle that it is not possible to see them with ordinary eyes. While dissecting a body, these Chakras cannot be seen like the other parts of the body because the observatory power of the human eye is very limited. These Chakras are the life force energy centres in the human body. The ancient Yogis saw these chakras with the help of their yogic vision and after having done a scientific examination and constructing a systematic theory, they have presented it to the followers of the yogic pursuits. According to the yogis, the Sushumna nadi in which these eight chakras are located, is said to be situated within the spinal cord in the gross body. Muladhara Chakra is located at the lower end of the spinal cord in the human body, about two inches above it is the Swadhisthana Chakra. Manipur Chakra is located in the spinal cord just behind the navel. At the back of the centre of the chest is the location of the Anahata Chakra, at the pit of the throat is the Vishudhi chakra. A little above the Vishuddhi Chakra, where the root of the tongue touches the palate is situated the Lalana chakra. Slightly above it is the Agya Chakra, located at the top of the spine, in the middle of the brain. And the Sahastrar Chakra is located at the apex of the head. What modern physiologists and medical experts consider as bio-electromagnetic fields the same are referred to as Chakra or Padma in Yogashastra. In fact, these Chakras are like microscopic glands, but these glands are not round, they are geometrical shaped similar to that of the flower petals. These group of geometrical shaped petals are called ‘Padmadal.’
                                                               ~ Acharyasri