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Chakras

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This picture depicts the seven major Chakras w...

This picture depicts the seven major Chakras with descriptions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While many New Age believers cite the belief in chakras as a surefire science of body and spirit, they usually don’t realize that chakra theories vary significantly among different Asian religious traditions.

Texts and teachings present different numbers of chakras. Also different physical structures are considered chakras. David Gordon White thus emphasizes:

“In fact, there is no “standard” system of the cakras. Every school, sometimes every teacher within each school, has had their own cakra system.”¹

The chakras are, in the most general sense, ‘wheels’ or alleged centers of power located along the spine, beginning at the anus/base and ending at the crown of the head.

Spiritual energy is said to travel in a channel (nadi) upward along the spine, homogenizing at each chakra much like floors along an elevator route. Individuals at various stages of spiritual development focus on and identify their consciousness with respectively different chakras (energy centers). The anus/base chakra is said to contain the lowest and crudest of spiritual energies, while the crown/top chakra is associated with ultimate spiritual awareness, beyond the confines of desire, the body, space and time, etc.

In this regard, Hinduism outlines a variety of spiritual tantras (rules, disciplines, theories). Although those outlined in the Kubjikamata Tantra became more or less standardized, with chakras specified at the anus, reproductive organs, navel, heart, throat, between the eyes and the ‘thousand-petalled lotus’ at the crown of the head.

In Hindu mythic belief raw power (Shakti) resides at the anus/base. Once awakened she rises, serpent-like, energizing each chakra as she passes upward, ultimately to unite with Siva at the crown chakra. At this point the aspirant allegedly experiences absolute bliss by virtue of linking personal consciousness with absolute reality or God.

By way of contrast, some Buddhist Tantras mention only four chakras, located at the navel, heart, throat and between the eyes/crown of the head.

Again, some people seem to accept one chakra theory as the gospel truth. In reality, however, there are many competing theories. The tendency for some to hold fast to a single chakra theory might have something to do with the human desire to understand and control. Rather than humbly acknowledging our human limitations concerning ultimate reality, some suppose they’ve got it all figured out with a manmade theory. Ironically, this narrow-minded, closed off attitude may hinder an experience of the mystery and grace of God.

Another sad possibility is that vulnerable people with a bit of money but not much knowledge are hoodwinked by manipulative, sham gurus and cheesy New Age teachers who’ll do anything they can to keep their wealthy clients on the hook.

¹ See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakra

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