Chakra (Psychic Points in the body)

Definition of chakra

The word chakra literally means ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’, but in the yogic context, a better translation is ‘vortex’ or ‘whirlpool’. The
chakras are vortices of pranic energy at specific areas in the body that control the circulation of prana permeating the
entire human structure. Each chakra is a switch that turns on or opens up patterns of behavior, thought or emotional
reactions that may have been unconscious in our everyday life. They relate to specific areas of the brain, and in most
people, these psychic centers lie dormant and inactive.

Concentration on the chakras while performing yogic practices stin1ulates the flow of energy through the chakras and helps to
activate them. This in turn awakens the dominant areas in the brain and the corresponding faculties in the psychic and mental
bodies, allowing one to experience planes of consciousness that are normally inaccessible.
The major chakras are seven in number and are located along the pathway of Sushumna, an energy channel that
flows through the center of the spinal cord. Sushumna originates at the perineum and terminates at the top of the
head. The chakras are connected to a network of psychic channels called nadis, which correspond to the nerves but
are more subtle in nature. The chakras are depicted symbolically as lotus flowers, each having a particular
number of petals and a characteristic color. The lotus symbolizes the t.hree stages the aspirant n1ust pass through
in spiritual life: ignorance, aspiration, and illumination. It represents spiritual growth from the lowest state of awareness
to the highest state of consciousness.
The petals of the lotus, inscribed with the bija mantras or seed sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet, represent the different
manifestations of psychic energy connected with the chakras, and the nadis or psychic channels leading into and out of
them. Within each chakra is a yantra, comprised of the geometrical symbol of its associated element and its bija mantra.
Within the yantra there is also a presiding deity, which represents particular aspects of consciousness, along with the
corresponding vahann or vehicle which is an animal form, representing the center’s other psychic aspects.

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