Just as the outer universe is a complex of many interrelated points such as suns and planets, in the same way the material and subtle bodies of the yogi–which reflect and react on one another–are a network of life energy points known as chakras.
Chakras are points in the bodies into which the universal life force (vishwaprana) flows. Without that constant inflow the bodies would become dormant and disintegrate–would die. The chakras are both entrances and exits for the cosmic life power as well as reservoirs of that power and points of intelligent direction of the power.
There are many subsidiary satellites of the chakras called adharas. Adharas are reservoirs of pranic energies, storage units for the energies that flow into the subtle bodies through the chakras, and therefore can be (and often are) mistaken for a chakra.
Seven Chakras and Two More
The Nath Yogi tradition teaches that there are nine major chakras:
- The Muladhara, located at the base of the spine
- The Swadhishthana, located in the spine a little less than midway between the base of the spine and the area opposite the navel.
- The Manipura, located in the spine at the point opposite the navel.
- The Anahata, located in the spine opposite the midpoint of the sternum bone.
- The Vishuddha chakra, located in the spine opposite the hollow of the throat.
- The Talu chakra, located at the root of the palate (opposite the tip of the nose).
- The Ajna chakra, located at the point between the eyebrows–the “third eye.”
- The Nirvana chakra, located in the midst of the brain: opposite the middle of the forehead, directly beneath the crown of the head.
- The Brahmarandhra chakra, located at the crown of the head.
The nature and function of the nine chakras
- Base (Muladhara) chakra. The Muladhara chakra deals with the purely physical, atomic structure of the body. Therefore its energies deal with healing, correcting and empowering the very cells and organs of the body. Positive energies of this chakra manifest as insight into all material phenomena and independence of them; negative energies manifest as totally material perceptions and impulses toward avid attachment to material things and disbelief in anything higher than matter.
- Swadhishthana chakra. The Swadhishthana chakra deals with neurological energies, emotions and desires, including sex/lust. It involves all that is self-centered and egotistical in a person. Through its purification are corrected those areas of our physical and emotional life. It also deals with the fluids in the body including the lymph and blood when there is an abnormality there. Positive energies of this chakra manifest as gentleness, sensitivity to others’ feelings, helpfulness and even self-sacrifice; negative energies manifest as negative emotions such as anger, resentment, hatred, jealousy, envy and–most of all–lust.
- Navel (Manipura) chakra. The Manipura chakra deals with the metabolism and the assimilative powers of the body. It, too, relates to desires, especially the desire to acquire, control and encompass. It relates to the digestive system as well. So those are the aspects of a person that correction of this chakra can affect. Positive energies of this chakra manifest as strength of will and purpose and a highly developed sense of order and right conduct; negative energies manifest as greed, possessiveness, negative ambition and materialistic involvements.
- Heart (Anahata) chakra. The Anahata chakra deals with metabolism and controls the cardio-pulmonary system. It too deals with feelings, but feelings of higher affection and altruism. (It is still in the lower levels, so do not mistake its movements for true or spiritual love or devotion to God.) It also deals with the faculty of sight and therefore basic perception as well as lesser intuition. It has a lot to do with the immune and circulatory systems and controls the thymus gland in the center of the chest. Positive energies of this chakra manifest as loving-kindness, generosity, and unselfish actions for the benefit of others; negative energies manifest as the desire to dominate others and to use them for selfish advantage.
- Throat (Vishuddha) chakra. The Vishuddha chakra deals with intellectual development and the power of speech. The thyroid is controlled by it also. The will is also involved to some extent. Higher intuition comes into play here to some extent, as well. Positive energies of this chakra manifest as wise, uplifting and healing speech, words that have the power to manifest what is being spoken; negative energies manifest as foolish, meaningless words, lies, manipulative and negative, harmful speech.
- Talu chakra. The Talu chakra is a kind of switching station as on a railway. Subtle transmuting energies and the Kundalini move up the spine from the Muladhara to the Vishuddha chakra. Then they need to move forward and reach the Ajna chakra. In the centuries since knowledge of the Talu chakra was almost lost, sadhakas throughout India have expressed frustration with the fact that the energies rise to the Vishuddha and will not move to the Ajna. This is because the way the subtle bodies are constituted the Talu chakra must be prepared and activated before the energies can move forward to the front of the head. But that has usually not been known. I personally have heard of several people making this complaint and known one man who sought advice from many renowned yogis over the years but received no help.
- Third eye (Ajna) chakra. The Ajna chakra controls, coordinates and partakes of all the functions of those beneath it. It particularly deals with spiritual intuition and spiritual will. Positive energies of this chakra manifest as clear intuition, spiritual perceptions and spiritual will power; negative energies manifest as chaotic or negative psychic experiences as well as whimsical, capricious and negative applications of will.
- Nirvana chakra. The Nirvana chakra is the center in which liberation (moksha) is attained and experienced. Without knowledge of this chakra there is a problem in the liberating energies moving from the front of the head back and upward to the Brahmarandhra chakra through which the yogi’s spirit rises to merge with the Absolute. Like the Talu chakra, the Nirvana chakra must be prepared and activated before the energies can so move. The Nirvana Chakra is also called the Jalandhara chakra. Jalandhara means “Holder of the Net” in the sense of perfect mastery of both the subtle energy network of nadis and chakras and of samsara itself, the “net” in which all sentient beings are caught until the Nirvana Chakra is reached in full awareness. Jalandhara also means: “holder of the aggregation,” as it also controls the seven chakras beneath it.
- Crown chakra. The energies of the Sushumna crown chakra are purely spiritual and unconditioned by any influences other than our finite spirit and the Infinite Spirit from which we derive our very existence. So there is never any trouble there. It need only be reached and empowered by the Kundalini to establish the precedence of these holy powers over the lower levels of our existence.
These nine chakras are the actual nine gates of the body spoken about in the ancient scriptures (see Bhagavad Gita 5:13), not the nine openings found in the body. The nine chakras are major factors in the subtle energy system of a human being, the ruling power centers, though there are a great number of minor chakras throughout the gross and subtle bodies of each one of us.