Chakras are real!
They are not some abstract creation of the fertile imagination of some ancient sage. Neither are they a secret trick to make the teaching esoteric and keep the creator in business! By understanding chakras and how to energize and activate them you can raise the nobility and purpose of your own life. The activation of higher chakras, namely Anahata and Ajna, can bring about profound transformations in your life. People often think that the subject of chakras is very esoteric and not everyone’s cup of tea, but this is not at all true. The teachings of Hatha yoga and Tantra outline many physical techniques to activate the chakras. The chanting of the sacred syllable AUM as described in the Mandukya Upanishad also activates the higher chakras.
Let us drop the esoteric label of chakras and try to understand them at a simpler level.
As everyone probably knows, there are seven main chakras. Let me ask you one question, “What are most people in this world preoccupied with?” You might say something like bringing up a family, earning money, have good food to eat, and generally enjoy life, right? Putting it more bluntly, most people are driven to procreate and protect their species, eat well, and enjoy other pleasures. These major mundane activities are driven by two of the strongest forces in humans, the powerful sexual attraction between the opposite sexes and the gnawing desire of hunger if you have ever had the misfortune to experience it. I am sure that description does not apply to everyone, especially not the readers of this blog but definitely to lots and lots of people.
Now let’s try and make the connection of this fact with our chakras. We mentioned ‘procreating’ and ‘eating + pleasure’ as the predominant activities. Where are the organs associated with these two activities located? The answer is ‘the navel area and below, where our reproductive and digestive organs are located. The three so-called “lower chakras” Muladhara, Swadishtana, and Manipura are located in this same region. The predominant focus of human life in its mundane pursuits is stuck in the functions of these lower chakras. Living such a mundane life ‘stuck’ in such pursuits is not being pointed out as an inferior activity but as ordinary or as they say, “everyone does it.” If you look at the lives of inspiring and noble people, you will notice that they are not stuck in such activities. They have transcended into the higher chakras.
“Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj
The Anahata or Heart Chakra:
All the chakras are part of our subtle body. The Anahata chakra is located on the spine behind the heart region. The great sage Ramana Maharshi said that our Self is located at the heart. Sankaracharya wrote “pratah smarami hrdi samspurad atma tatvam,” meaning “in the early morning hours, I meditate on the region of the heart to find the ever-shining Self.” Try this: Stretch your arm out and point to yourself with your eyes closed. Do this now before you read further.
Now open your eyes slowly and look where your finger is pointing. It will, for most people, be pointing at the heart. We naturally find ‘ourselves’ in the heart region. Anahata means the unstruck sound. This chakra is ever throbbing with the vibration (sound) of pure love. When the awareness breaks through the three lower chakras and reaches Anahata, immense love and compassion for everything floods our very being. The yogi who achieves this experiences a deep desire to help others, and overwhelming compassion for the suffering humanity. He does not care much about himself anymore because he has gratitude for the life he already has. He sees his aliveness as a blessing and great gift from God. This transformational change of attitude is reflected in the famous Tamil song “Kurai Onrum Illai.” This song invokes Lord Krishna to tell Him, “I have no grievances O Lord.” It has been written in some tantric texts that the wakening of Anahata brings about a manifestation of your deep desires through synchronic events. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. are examples of personalities who perhaps had an evolved Anahata chakra. Through their previous karma, possibly from previous lives, they developed this. The sound of ‘U’ helps to activate the Anahata chakra and is the middle syllable during the chanting of AUM.
The Ajna or Third Eye Chakra:
After love comes knowledge. Not the knowledge of Physics and Math but a deeper one. We only use a very tiny percentage of our intellect. The Ajna chakra represents a transformation in the way we perceive and experience things. We may call it ‘Godly intellect.’ The phrase ‘from manliness to godliness’ comes to mind. When the awareness touches the Ajna chakra the subject achieves the status of ‘Sthithaprajna’ as described by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. It is a deep transformational realization of the true realities of life; the temporary nature of our relationships, the fleeting nature of happiness and grief, and the fragility of the human body. All this may seem very negative; so let me be very clear that this is not a ‘to hell with everyone’ type of attitude but rather a waking up to the true reality of things. It is based on a deep visceral understanding rather than on hate and abhorrence of our acquaintances and the world. In fact, to such an individual the world shows up with a new beauty stripped of exaggerated expectations. There is immense enjoyment in the simple life. The cool breeze, a flitting butterfly, a cup of coffee with a friend all express themselves with a new meaning in our own life.
Our intellect guides us not to live in a made up lie but sees clearly everything as it really is. And, in fact, the world we live in is an extremely beautiful place. We often realize that only when we are on our death bed!
Awakening the Higher Chakras – Om Chanting:
Chanting the OM sound with proper technique helps to activate the higher chakras. Please listen to the audio below for detailed instructions on this technique.
A few words about this technique and tips for success. Please sit in a comfortable and upright posture. If you need support, you can lean back a little on pillows. Please do not expect quick results. Be patient and practice regularly and you will definitely notice transformational changes in you. Adding Shambhavi Mudra to the OM chanting enhances its effectiveness. Try and learn this mudra from an experienced yoga teacher.
“May noble thoughts come to us from all directions.” – Rig Veda
A man who went to heaven asked God in exasperation and anger, “Oh God why is there so much suffering and violence on your earth? Have you done anything to reduce that suffering?” God answered, “Yes, my son, I did. I created you.” Each one of us is here for a higher purpose not to be stuck in mundane material pursuits alone. As Wayne Dyer put it beautifully, “we should move from an ambition-based life to a life of meaning.” Let us lift our thoughts to noble ones, as the Rig Veda exhorts, and help others who are desperately searching for it.
The awakening of the higher chakras will help bring this transformation in us.
- Theories of the Chakras by Hiroshi Motoyama, New Age books
- ‘Mandukya Upanishad’ commentary by Swami Chinmayananda, Chinmaya Publications
- ‘Sure ways to Self-Realization’ by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Yoga Publications Trust