Sahasrara Chakra

Sahasrāra = thousand, infinite

Sahasrara_Chakra

Sahasrara Chakra

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.

crown-chakra

Sahasrara Chakra Petals 

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 

 

Chakra: Understanding (Part 2)

7 Chakra

chakras_2
A chakra is like a whirling, vortex-like, powerhouse of energy. Since they are connected with the universal energy, they can be controlled or balanced by applying some laws and principles defined under spirituality. If you wonder what is spirituality then read below:

Spirituality Definition

  • Christina Puchalski, MD, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, contends that “spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.”
  • According to Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary, researchers and authors of The Spiritual Brain, “spirituality means any experience that is thought to bring the experiencer into contact with the divine (in other words, not just any experience that feels meaningful).”
  • Nurses Ruth Beckmann Murray and Judith Proctor Zenter write that “the spiritual dimension tries to be in harmony with the universe, and strives for answers about the infinite, and comes into focus when the person faces emotional stress, physical illness, or death.”

According to  Deepak Chopra each of the seven chakras are governed by understanding and practicing spiritual laws & principles of consciousness. When the chakra are balanced the internal energy known as Kundalini Shakti flows into them and meets the universal energy and affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The learning of balancing chakras includes understanding of our own energy, physical sensations, and emotional states. For this we need to know each chakra in detail and ways to control their spinning to balance them.

The awakening of the Chakras does not proceed in rigid, isolated steps, but takes place on all levels of consciousness simultaneously.

Chakra in details

Even though the 7 chakras are associated with specific parts of the body, they are not “physical” entities per se, but belong to the realm of “subtle energy”.  They can be described at the crossroad of the material and the immaterial, the biological and the spiritual, and pertain to the body, mind, and spirit all together. The mainstream chakra system is based on a Hindu chakra system that recognizes seven distinct “wheels” or “centers” of energy that are perpetually in motion along the human body’s spinal column. Each possessing its own color and vibrational frequency, these wheels are the catalysts of consciousness and human function. They govern various emotional issues, from our survival instincts and self-esteem to our ability to communicate and experience love. A large part of getting to know how to work with your chakras involves chakra balancing. A chakra blockage and imbalance in one or several of 7 chakras can initiate mental, emotional, physical and/or spiritual ailments. Regardless of whether you use chakra stones, crystals, reiki, or another form of vibrational healing to restore chakra balance, being well-versed about chakra systems, their function, and the areas they govern can be invaluable.

Balancing chakras and healing with the chakra energy system requires a working knowledge of chakras and their functions. So we shall start understanding one by one from this point and then in following blogs.

7 Chakra

The first Chakra: Mūlādhāra Chakra (root chakra) –

Mūla = Root, Origin, Essence, Ādhāra = Basis, Foundation

Symbolic representation: a four petals lotus flower, symbolizing the four nadis or energetical channels coming from here.

Controlled psychic function: the will to survive, controls the survival instinct, the inner state of safety, self-confidence on a physical level, desire for material possessions, the chosen profession or job, the feeling of security, the belonging to a group and the group (family) identity.

Essential fears: fear of physical survival; abandon from the part of the group, losing the physical order, fear of being attacked or aggressed.

Characteristic reactions in cases of energetical disturbances: fear or runaway.

The element resonating with: subtle energies of earth.

Sensorial organ: nose.

Sense: smell.

Characteristic color: clay-yellow.

The Sanskrit word Mūlādhāra is combination of ‘Mūlā’ & ‘Ādhāra’ words. ‘Mula’ meaning “root,” and ‘Adhara’ meaning “support” or “base.” This the foundation chakra, means it helps to build foundation for the higher spiritual development, just as the womb of the mother creates the basic requirement for the growth of the embryo.

Muladhara_Chakra

Muladhara Chakra is the center of self-preservation. Self preservation is an instinct required in every field of life. The Basic chakra or Root chakra is also the focal point of dynamic activities. To sum it up, the Basic chakra is the chakra of action. A person with a highly activated chakra will be successful in his business or whatever profession he embraces. A person with a depleted basic chakra on the other hand will only plan but not be able to implement. A Basic chakra plays a crucial role in one’s youthfulness and health.

In the Muladhara Chakra the form of divine energy (Shakti) is said to be located. This energy form is known as Kundalini (Sanskrit – kuṇḍalinī). Kundalini , or “coiled one”, in Hinduism refers to a form of divine energy (Shakti) said to be located at the base of the spine (muladhara). It is for the spiritual liberation. It can be cultivated and awakened through tantric practice. When awakened, Kundalini is said to rise up from the muladhara chakra, through the central nadi (called sushumna) inside or alongside the spine reaching the top of the head. The progress of Kundalini through the different chakras is believed to achieve different levels of awakening and a mystical experience, until Kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, Sahasrara or crown chakra, producing an extremely profound transformation of consciousness.

The existence of the Kundalini energy is further emphasized in this quote by John the Baptist’s statement (Matthew 3:11, Oxford Bible), “I baptize you with water…but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The Holy Spirit symbolizes the divine energy that is coming down. And the fire stands for the fiery serpent at the base of the spine.

Energy is said to accumulate in the muladhara, and the yogi seeks to send it up to the brain transforming it into ‘Ojas’, the highest form of energy.

muladhara_chakra

The muladhara chakra is the foundation of the physical structure and the energy body. So stabilizing the foundation is important. Unless the muladhara is stabilized, one will not know health, wellbeing, and a sense of stability and completeness.

The Muladhara Chakra forms the border between animal and human consciousness. It is linked to the unconscious mind, where our actions and experience from past lives are stored. Therefore according to Karmic Law, this Chakra contains the course of our future destiny. This Chakra is also the foundation for the development of our personality.

The positive attributes of the Muladhara Chakra are vitality, vigour and growth. The negative qualities are laziness, inertia, self-centredness and domination by one’s physical desires.

The Bīja Mantra (Seed Mantra) of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is LĀM, the sound of spiritual awakening. It releases tensions and removes blockages in this Chakra and activates its energy.

The main symbol of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is an ELEPHANT WITH SEVEN TRUNKS. In Indian mythology the elephant is the carrier of Brahmā, the creator, who brought forth knowledge and creation. The seven trunks of the elephant represent the seven basic materials of the body, as well as the SAPTDHĀTUS, the seven minerals and the seven precious gems that are found in the earth .

The Lotus blossom of the Mūla Kamala has four petals depicting the four points of the compass. They represent the four fundamental psychic functions of mind (Manas), intellect (Buddhi), consciousness (Chitta) and ego (Ahamkara)  – all of which originate in this Chakra.

The divinity of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva represents consciousness and liberation. Liberation can also mean the elimination and destruction of anything negative and harmful; Shiva destroys all negative tendencies. As “Lord of the Animals” Lord Shiva keeps the animal forces under control. At Shiva’s side there are two female divinities. Their names are ĀSURĪ SHAKTI and DEVĪ SHAKTI. Āsurī Shakti represents the destructive, divisive energy within us, and Devī Shakti the positive, constructive and uniting power. Through a positive lifestyle, confident attitude to life, keeping spiritual company (Satsang), good thoughts, understanding, forgiveness, helping and giving, Āsurī Shakti is gradually transformed into Devī Shakti.

shiva&shakti

An important symbol in the Mūlādhāra Chakra is the SHIVA LINGAM, an astral symbol for creativity, creative power and consciousness. In this symbol a snake winds around the Shiva Lingam three and a half times. The three rotations of the serpent represent the first three levels of consciousness – unconscious, subconscious and conscious; and the half turn refers to the awakened super-consciousness. As the head of the snake is pointing downwards this is an indication that the evolutionary process can also again go downwards. Wisdom does not develop by itself; it needs constant, conscious effort to purify the thoughts and steer the actions towards the good.

The evolution of consciousness is connected with time, and the snake is also known as KĀLA (time, past or death). Therefore, the winding of the snake around the Shiva Lingam can also represent time – past, present and future.

Another symbol of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is an inverted triangle, which has two meanings. One meaning suggests that the Cosmic energy is pulled in and guided downwards, as if into a funnel. The other meaning indicates an upward expansion of consciousness.  The tip pointing downwards indicates that we are at the beginning of our spiritual development; and the sides that spread upwards and outwards show the direction of the developing consciousness.

The Mūlādhāra Chakra is affiliated with the SENSE OF SMELL. The awakening of the Mūlādhāra Chakra can lead to a heightening of sensory perceptions, especially the refinement of the senses of smell and hearing, so that we become aware of aromas and sounds that are not perceptible to others. Some people can see auras or feel the thoughts and moods of others.

The colour assigned to the Mūlādhāra Chakra is RED, the colour of Shakti. Shakti means energy, movement, awakening and development. Red symbolises awakening of the sleeping consciousness to active, alert consciousness. It indicates the existence of a strong, dense energy and is connected to the earth. Our existence has its roots in the earth and therefore the EARTH element (Tattva) is assigned to the Mūlādhāra Chakra.

The Mūlādhāra Chakra is the mother who nourishes and raises us. It is the seat of our dormant wisdom, the stronghold of our hidden spiritual powers and abilities. By awakening this Chakra – under the care of the spiritual Master – we accomplish the first step on our path towards a fully developed human consciousness, and beyond to God-Realisation.

When the Mūlādhāra Chakra becomes active qualities that we had not suspected were within us, such as destructive rage, all-consuming passion, excessive desires or deep-seated anger, can surface and astound us. Or, on the other hand, we can also experience wonderful feelings of freedom, joy, harmony and closeness to God.

Yoga is the best method of taking the decisive step to work through the contents of our unconscious with complete awareness. One dimension of yoga that is related to the muladhara is referred to as kayakalpa. Kaya means body. Kalpa essentially means a long period of time – we could translate it as “eon.” Kayakalpa is either about establishing or stabilizing the body, or extending its lifespan, in such a way that the deterioration is at least slowed down to a point where it looks like you are ageless and timeless. The guidance of a Realised Master who has already successfully dealt with this process is essential. He knows the dangers and obstacles on the spiritual path, and also understands our feelings and is aware of our condition. He can make us attentive, advise and help us when we still do not know which way to go. Confidence in the Master (Shraddhā) is an essential requirement for success. At this stage of our spiritual development we are like tender little plants that must be supported and protected from the rigours of the weather. The Master gives us the necessary support, for he is as unshakeable and firm as the Mountains.

Spiritual_KayaKalpa

Exercises for the Mūlādhāra Chakra

Kriyā Yoga

is the best practice to awaken the Mūlādhāra Chakra and purify the Karmas. The initiation into Kriyā Yoga is given to the aspirant by the spiritual Master.

Āshvinī Mudrā

is a very effective exercise to raise the unconscious into consciousness. Āshva means horse, and Mudrā means a position of the body. With this exercise the anal muscles are repeatedly contracted and relaxed (just like a horse when it sheds its droppings).

Mahāmudrā

Starting Position: Sit on the floor. One leg is straight and the other leg is bent so the heel is beneath the buttock. Exhaling bend forward and take hold of the toes of the straight leg with both hands. Raise the head and look upwards. Remain in this position for a few minutes breathing normally.

Mandukī Mudrā (also known as Bhadrāsana)

Starting Position: Vajrāsana (sitting on the heels). Separate the legs far enough so that the buttocks can rest on the floor. Exhaling and keeping the back straight, bend forward and place the hands on the floor between the knees. Arms can be straight or bent – whatever is comfortable. The fingers point outwards and you look towards the tip of the nose. Remain in this position for a few minutes breathing normally.

This exercise protects us against harmful emissions, detoxifies the body and has a grounding influence, as well as improving the sense of smell and concentration.

Other helpful exercises are:

  • Mūla Bandha (Root Lock)
  • Yoga Mudrā
  • Shalabhāsana (Locust Pose)
  • Paschimottānāsana (Seated Forward Bend)
  • Dhanurāsana (Bow Pose)
  • Tādāgī Mudrā (Raised Lotus)