Do not go to the garden of flowers! O Friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus,
and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty.
|Name||Location||Plane it corresponds to|
|Bindu||Above the head||Superconscient|
|Sahasrara||Above the head||Superconscient|
|Guru||Above the head||Superconscient|
|Nirvana or Brahmarandhra(i.e.door of Brahman)||In the top center of the head||Higher Mind|
|Ajna||Eyebrows||Dynamic Mind, Will, Vision, Mental Formation|
|Vishuddha||Throat||externalizing physical mind|
|Svadhisthana||Below navel||Lower Vital|
|Muladhara||Root of spine||Physical down to subconscient|
Picture of Chakras
According to the Mother, there are twelve Chakras in all:
“The tantrics recognize seven chakras,’ I believe. Theon said he knew of more, specifically two below the body and three above. That is my experience as well – I know of twelve chakras. And really, the contact with the Divine Consciousness is there (Mother motions above the head), not here (at the top of the head). One must surge up above.“
Description of the Chakras
This mental or psychical body, which the soul keeps even after death, has also a subtle pranic force in it corresponding to its own subtle nature and substance, – for wherever there is life of any kind, there must be the pranic energy and a substance in which it can work, – and this force is directed through a system of numerous channels, called nādī, – the subtle nervous organisation of the psychic body, – which are gathered up into six (or really seven) centres called technically lotuses or circles, cakra, and which rise in an ascending scale to the summit where there is the thousand-petalled lotus from which all the mental and vital energy flows. Each of these lotuses is the centre and the storing-house of its own particular system of psychological powers, energies and operations, – each system corresponding to a plane of our psychological existence, – and these flow out and return in the stream of the pranic energies as they course through the Nadis.
This arrangement of the psychic body is reproduced in the physical with the spinal column as a rod and the ganglionic centres as the Chakras which rise up from the bottom of the column, where the lowest is attached, to the brain and find their summit in the brahmarandhra at the top of the skull. These Chakras or lotuses, however, are in physical man closed or only partly open, with the consequence that only such powers and only so much of them are active in him as are sufficient for his ordinary physical life, and so much mind and soul only is at play as will accord with its need. This is the real reason, looked at from the mechanical point of view, why the embodied soul seems so dependent on the bodily and nervous life, –though the dependence is neither so complete nor so real as it seems. The whole energy of the soul is not at play in the physical body and life, the secret powers of mind are not awake in it, the bodily and nervous energies predominate. But all the while the supreme energy is there, asleep; it is said to be coiled up and slumbering like a snake, – therefore it is called the kuņdalinī śakti, – in the lowest of the Chakras, in the mūlādhāra. When by Pranayama the division between the upper and lower Prana currents in the body is dissolved, this Kundalini is struck and awakened, it uncoils itself and begins to rise upward like a fiery serpent breaking open each lotus as it ascends until the Shakti meets the Purusha in the brahmarandhra in a deep Samadhi of union.
[Sri Aurobindo, Synthesis of Yoga, Chapter 28, Raja Yoga]
The navel-centre (nābhi-padma) is the main seat of the centralised vital consciousness (dynamic centre) which ranges from the heart level (emotional) to the centre below the navel (lower vital, sensational desire centre). These three make the domain of the vital being. It is therefore clear that it was your inner vital being which had this experience, and its intensity and vehemence was probably due to the whole vital (or most of it) being awake and sharing in it this time. The experience itself was psychic in its origin, but was given a strong emotional-vital form in its expression. I may add, for completeness, that the centre of the psychic is behind the heart and it is through the purified emotions that the psychic most easily finds an outlet. All from the heart above is connected with the mental-vital and above it is the mind with its three centres. One in the throat (the outward-going or externalising mind), one between the eyes or rather in the middle of the forehead (the centre of vision and will) and one above, communicating with the brain, which is called the thousand-petalled lotus, and where are centralised the highest thought and intelligence, communicating with the greater mind planes (illumined mind, intuition, overmind) above.
[Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, Experiences of the Inner and the Cosmic Consciousness]
Description of the Sahasradala Chakra
Above-head centre. Above the head extends the higher consciousness centre, sahasradala padma, the thousand-petalled lotus, commanding the higher thinking mind and the illumined mind and opening upwards to the intuition and overmind. The sahasradala centralises spiritual mind, higher mind, intuitive mind and acts as a receiving station for the intuition proper and overmind. It is the seventh and highest centre. Usually those who take the centres in the body only count six centres, the sahasrara being excluded. It is sometimes or by some identified with the brain, but that is an error; the brain is only a channel of communication situated between the thousand-petalled and the forehead centre. The former is cometimes called the void centre, sunya, either because it is not in the body but in the apparent void above, or because rising above the head one enters first into the silence of the self or spiritual being. The centre at the crown must be part of the sahasradala, the centre of communication direct between the individual being and the infinite consciousness above.
[M. P. Pandit, Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra]
Description of opening of the Chakras in Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri
A mighty movement rocked the inner space
As if a world were shaken and found its soul:
Out of the Inconscient’s soulless mindless night
A flaming Serpent rose released from sleep.
It rose billowing its coils and stood erect
And climbing mightily, stormily on its way
It touched her centres with its flaming mouth;
As if a fiery kiss had broken their sleep,
They bloomed and laughed surcharged with light and bliss.
Then at the crown it joined the Eternal’s space.
In the flower of the head, in the flower of Matter’s base,
In each divine stronghold and Nature-knot
It held together the mystic stream which joins
The viewless summits with the unseen depths,
The string of forts that make the frail defence
Safeguarding us against the enormous world,
Our lines of self-expression in its Vast.
An image sat of the original Power
Wearing the mighty Mother’s form and face.
Armed, bearer of the weapon and the sign
Whose occult might no magic can imitate,
Manifold yet one she sat, a guardian force:
A saviour gesture stretched her lifted arm,
And symbol of some native cosmic strength,
A sacred beast lay prone below her feet,
A silent flame-eyed mass of living force.
All underwent a high celestial change:
Breaking the black Inconscient’s blind mute wall,
Effacing the circles of the Ignorance,
Powers and divinities burst flaming forth;
Each part of the being trembling with delight
Lay overwhelmed with tides of happiness
And saw her hand in every circumstance
And felt her touch in every limb and cell.
In the country of the lotus of the head
Which thinking mind has made its busy space,
In the castle of the lotus twixt the brows
Whence it shoots the arrows of its sight and will,
In the passage of the lotus of the throat
Where speech must rise and the expressing mind
And the heart’s impulse run towards word and act,
A glad uplift and a new working came.
The immortal’s thoughts displaced our bounded view,
The immortal’s thoughts earth’s drab idea and sense;
All things now bore a deeper heavenlier sense.
A glad clear harmony marked their truth’s outline,
Reset the balance and measures of the world.
Each shape showed its occult design, unveiled
God’s meaning in it for which it was made
And the vivid splendour of his artist thought.
A channel of the mighty Mother’s choice,
The immortal’s will took into its calm control
Our blind or erring government of life;
A loose republic once of wants and needs,
Then bowed to the uncertain sovereign mind,
Life now obeyed to a diviner rule
And every act became an act of God.
In the kingdom of the lotus of the heart
Love chanting its pure hymeneal hymn
Made life and body mirrors of sacred joy
And all the emotions gave themselves to God.
In the navel lotus’ broad imperial range
Its proud ambitions and its master lusts
Were tamed into instruments of a great calm sway
To do a work of God on earthly soil.
In the narrow nether centre’s petty parts
Its childish game of daily dwarf desires
Was changed into a sweet and boisterous play,
A romp of little gods with life in Time.
In the deep place where once the Serpent slept,
There came a grip on Matter’s giant powers
For large utilities in life’s little space;
A firm ground was made for Heaven’s descending might.”
[Sri Aurobindo. Savitri — A Legend and a Symbol, pp 528-530]
- Ascent experience
- Descent experience
- Explaining the Ascent-Descent in Integral Yoga
- Kundalini in ancient Greek and other non-Indian cultures
- The subtle sounds which indicate progress in Yoga
- Why does Yoga give you a “high”?
- Various ways in which the Kundalini rises