III. The Seven Main Chakras in the Yogic Tradition
with some correspondences in the Sufi tradition given in brackets
See pages on the Sufi traditon of the Lataif
1. Muladhara / Base ( Kolobia)
Meaning in sanscrit: Muladhara: Mul means ‘base’, adhara means ‘support’
Element: Earth. Square. Moves horizontally. Colour: red / yellow (different systems)
Sense: smell. Organ: nose. Gland: adrenals
The mould of the physical body, template within which the physical body is formed and reformed. Higher levels of being are dormant, numb, until the physical body can act as a conduit.
Qualities: stability, security, solidity, persistance, urge for survival. Grounding. Belonging. Existing. Cohesiveness. Inertia.
Resources: A well developed first chakra gives physical strength, muscle power, endurance, self control, patience, a disciplined life.
Gives ability to filter own and others’ negativity
Behavioural characteristics, challenges: Drive to incarnate and survive
Or: tendency to avoid incarnating or staying here
Dominated by the need to find security. Will support the institutions in which they live and work; attachment to race, nation, army, school, religion
2. Svadhistana / Sacral (Nafsiya)
Meaning in sanscrit: one’s own abode, dwelling place of the self
Element: Water. Flows downward. Colour: orange or salmon colour
Sense: taste. Sense organ: the tongue. Organs of activity: sex organs and kidneys
Gland: gonads. Governs prana, the vital breath
(Chinese Medicine: Kidneys source of Ancestral Qi and ‘grab’ the breath)
Qualities: Energy, drive, force to protect what one considers is one’s own
Self-confidence, personal magnetism. Well-being, longevity
This centre has 2 important faculties for evolution: 1. it keeps us in the world, reacting to things
2. it takes us towards the intellect: orange to yellow.
Resources: A well-developed Sacral Centre gives individual power
Physically: drives the physical functions eg digestion, circulation, immune system
Associated with blood, and reproduction and all its cycles
Creativity (procreation, enterprise, artistic)
The connection between water, moon, emotions, psyche.
Behavioural characteristics and challenges: Centred on ‘sex, power, money’ (Caroline Myss)
The expansion of personality – 1st Chakra concerned with survival; 2nd Chakra establish family as a power base, network of friends, attract members of the opposite sex.
Relates strongly to family and family responsibilities
Desires, fantasies (eg identifies with being a hero/heroine) creativity (art, music, poetry)
3. Manipura / Solar Plexus
Meaning in sanscrit: ‘filled with jewels’, or ‘City of Jewels; it is also called the chakra of the Sun
Element: fire, which is closely related to Shakti and the awakening of kundalini. ‘Fire is the form in which Kundalini remains in the body.’ Moves upwards
Colour: yellow/ red (different traditions)
Sense: sight. Sense organ: eyes. Work organ: feet and legs. Gland: pancreas
Qualities: Personal spiritual consciousness is awakening
Organization: of sense of self, and ability to organize one’s environment
Rational mind, power to express ideas
The rational mind brings a different attitude to the collective: eg playing and controlling stock markets instead of making war.
Emotions become richer and more controllable, sensitivity increases, sympathy with others
Resources: It is the centre of vitality in physical and psychic bodies as the sun is the source of life in the solar system.
Fire: purifies and nourishes
aids in the digestion and absorption of food
and of the psychological food of our life, and the intellect
Behaviour characteristics and challenges: A place of evolution. The ego develops in this chakra: the desire to be recognized, to be powerful and authoritative.
Sun – intellect – organizational ability (cf fantasies of 2nd chakra).
Power to express ideas effectively, power to command.
Charity, atonement for one’s errors, selfless service, dharma
4. Anahata / Heart
Meaning in sanscrit: ‘unbeaten (sound)’, a non-physical sound which continues without beginning or end. The primordial sound, source of all sound, which issues from beyond the material world. Manifests in the heart: eternal, unborn, undying vibrations, the pulse of the universe.
Element: Air – moves in all 4 directions as well as upward and downward
Colour: variously: gold (PVK), green (theosophists)
Sense: Touch ‘in the form of subtle air’. Sense organ: skin. Active organ: hands. Gland: thymus
Resources: Sufis: The altar of God
Qualities: love, compassion, devotion, faith, the desire for sharing and sympathy
The plane of sanctity in this chakra brings the perception of the divine in all existence.
Behavioural characteristics and challenges
Clarity of consciousness, centred, concentration, meditation
Aware of ones life goal, aware of the truth beyond words
Dedication, devotion, faith, self-confidence
Gain full control of sense and work organs. Become master of own self. Evolve beyond circumstantial and environmental influences to become independent and self-emanating.
Worship with love and find love as God everywhere and in everything.
Faith in self and in the divine makes one a source of faith for others
Harmless: everyone feels secure in their presence. Free from anger, lust, jealousy, etc
Movement is graceful, rhythmic, love flows through their whole being
5. Vishuddhi / Throat
Meaning in sanscrit: shuddhi means ‘to purify’: this is considered the chakra of purification (ajna: purification of karma; manipura: purification of thought): vishuddhi purifies poison.
Element: ether or space or air or akasha
Colour: green (PVK); blue (theosophists)
Sense: hearing. Organs of knowledge: ears. Organs of action: vocal cords. Gland: thyroid.
Resources: Communication, creativity
Spoken words give expression to the emotions within the heart. The voice penetrates to the heart of a listener. It affects the listener by changing the space (akasha) of her/his mind and being.
Prayers and devotional songs arise in the heart and are expressed by the vocal chords in the Visshuddha Chakra; mantras bring our divine energies and give form to the formless.
Behavioural characteristics and challenges: Spiritual rebirth
No distinct worldly characteristics in this chakra
Main problem: doubt or negative intellect when knowledge is used unwisely. This is dispelled when all is verified through meditation and experience.
6. Ajna / Third Eye (Khafya)
Meaning in sanscrit: ‘to command’, from the roots meaning ‘to know’ and ‘to follow’
Location: where ida, pingala and sushumna merge – Sushumna continues up to the sahasrara chakra, Ida terminates on the left nostril, Pingala on the right.
(Element: we have gone beyond consciousness of elements)
Colour: often violet or indigo.
Faculties in the body: eyes and two halves of the brain. Physical gland: pituitary.
Resources: Coordinates all: ‘Controls the various states of concentration used in meditation. Commands the whole personality. Is associated with the cognitive faculties of the mind, both mental images and abstract ideas. For the first time undivided individual existence manifests for the sake of creation as two.’ (Mookerjee)
All faculties of the mind are stimulated: higher intelligence, will power, memory, concentration. Telepathic communications. Clairvoyant perceptions. Transformation involves: spiritual vision: communication through the higher self. Come into contact with higher consciousness.
7. Sahasrara / Crown (Achvaya)
Meaning in sanscrit: ‘thousandfold’
Colour: White, all colours
Faculties in the body: brain, the whole body. Gland: pineal
In overall control of every aspect of body and mind, encompassing all senses, all functions. It is all-pervading in its power.
Regarded as the crossover point between human and divine evolution