Sahasrāra = thousand, infinite
The Seventh Chakra or the Crown Chakra, at the top of the “chakra ladder”, which connects us with the universe & the path to liberation is known as Sahasrāra Chakra. The gift of this chakra is experiencing unity and the selfless realization that everything is connected at a fundamental level. It is the last milestone of the evolution of human awareness. It is located four finger-breadths above the crown of the head. It is also known as the Thousand-petalled Lotus, Brahmrandhra (door to Brahma) and Source of Light (because a supernatural light as bright as the sun radiates from it).
There is no intellectual knowing at the level of the Sahasrāra Chakra, but there is serenity, joy, and deep peace about life. The energy of this chakra allows us to experience mystical oneness with everyone and everything in nature. As the goal of yoga practices is samadhi or the superconscious union of the ego with the divine self, the crown chakra is the point at which the soul dissolves ego consciousness. When the seed matures it naturally sprouts. When the Kundalini reaches the Sahasrara, the lotus petals open and enlightenment takes place. You may feel a pulsation in the crown of the head, followed by a melting sensation and a flow of cool vibrations from the fontanel areas. The union of the ego with the divine self may be experienced as merging with a calm inner light. In the light, one can expand one’s consciousness to infinity.
“But the man who is ignorant, who has no faith, who is of a doubting nature, perishes. For the doubting soul there is neither this world nor the world beyond nor any happiness” (BG 4:40). We must have a positive basis for life, an unwavering faith to discover the Truth which stands the test of life. “Kill therefore with the sword of wisdom the doubt born of ignorance that lies in thy heart. Be one in self-harmony, in Yoga, and arise, great warrior, arise!” (BG 4:42).
According to Tantric philosophy, the Sahasrāra Chakra is both a receiver and giver of energy and consciousness. It receives energy to sustain life and it gives back the personal energy to unite with the collective pool of consciousness. It is the meeting point between finite (the body and the ego) and infinite (the universe and soul). When we realize that everything is interconnected and that we are part of the larger scheme of life, we begin to live with gratitude, faith and trust, rather than filled with fear and anxiety.
Often referred to as a thousand-petaled lotus, it is said to be the most subtle chakra in the system, relating to pure consciousness, and it is from this chakra that all the other chakras emanate. No other light approaches the brilliance of the sun. In the same way the radiance of all other Chakras fades before the incomparable radiance of the Sahasrāra Chakra. The Sahasrāra possesses no special colour or quality. Its light contains all colour vibrations united in the incomparable brilliance of pure light. The energy of all Nādīs flows together here, just as the water of a thousand rivers comes together in the sea.
The root of the Lotus represents Ādi Shakti. The Blossom in the Sahasrāra Chakra is Ādi Shiva, the Divine Consciousness and Supreme Self. In Rāja Yoga these two primal principles are known as Jīvātmā and Paramātmā. When they become one it is said that we are “one with our Self”, whereas in reality there is no difference between them.
Sahasrara chakra is the upper terminal point of Sushumna nadi, the central channel. From Saharara the nectar of immortality (Amrita) flows in a constant stream. Once the Kundalini Shakti, also called “Serpent Power”, has ascended through Sushumna to Sahasrara, it is made to reverse its course and return to rest in the base center again. Immortality is achieved within Sahasrara Chakra. Before attaining to this chakra the yogi is unable to reach the unconscious conscious state called asama-prajnata-samadhi. In this state there is no activity of the mind and no knower, no knowledge, nothing to be known: knowledge, knower, and known all become unified and liberated.
The element of the Sahasrāra Chakra is ĀDI TATTVA or ĪSHVARA TATTVA . It is the source of creation, the pure light and one reality – God. This Tattva is Ādi Anādi. Ādi means “without beginning”, Anādi means “without end” – therefore infinite. As soon as this Tattva unites with a quality (Guna) it is bound and therefore limited – just as pure water has no taste of its own, but is modified by and takes on the taste of whatever is added to it. In the Cosmos there are diverse manifestations of this one Tattva with various qualities and functions – such as fire, water, air and earth – but the basis is always the same, the pure essence.
In each individual (Jīvātmā), the Self (Ātmā) resides with the Supreme Self (Paramātmā), appearing in the form of Ādi Shiva in the Sahasrāra Chakra. In essence Ātmā and Paramātmā are the same. When the consciousness of the Jīvātmā reaches Ādi Shiva in the Sahasrāra Chakra and merges with it, it is illuminated and freed from any shackles and limitations. Just as night gives way to sunrise, the darkness of ignorance fades with the opening of the Sahasrāra Chakra. We can attain this through Kriyā Yoga meditation and Guru Kripā. Our lifelong striving for happiness and fulfilment is, at its deepest level, the union of Jīvātmā and Paramātmā, which, translated in the symbolism of the Chakras, is the union of Shiva (in the Sahasrāra Chakra) and Shakti (located in the Mūlādhāra Chakra). The union of Shiva and Shakti occurs when the stream of energy in the two main Nādīs, Idā and Pingalā , unite and rise through the Sushumnā Nādī. The seat of the Ātmā is in the heart, and realisation of the Ātmā takes place only when a simultaneous awakening of the Anāhata Chakra and the Sahasrāra Chakra occurs. With this a direct connection from the Sahasrāra Chakra to the Anāhata Chakra through the Brahmā Nādī (also known as Gyāna Nādī) is established. If the Anāhata Chakra is blocked and the flow of Bhakti, love and devotion, has also dried up the Sahasrāra Chakra does not open.
The path of development through the Chakras, the process of change in the consciousness and the investigation of our own thoughts and feelings, is no easy undertaking. For all the errors that we committed in ignorance we can ask for forgiveness and pray: “Oh Lord, lead us from ignorance to wisdom, from darkness to the light of knowledge. May Your Divine Light always enlighten my heart and my consciousness”.
Exercises for the Sahasrāra Chakra
- Shirshāsana (Headstand)
- Vrikshāsana (Tree)
- Khatu Pranam (Greetings to Khatu)
- Singing OM
- Kriyā Yoga
- Meditation with visualization of the image of the chakra as described earlier