Chakras: Energy Centers of Transformation by Harish Johari (Inner Traditions) Revised and expanded edition of the classic work on chakras by the renowned Indian scholar and tantra practitioner. * Over 35,000 copies of the original edition sold. * Includes full-color illustrations of the chakras to be used with the meditation exercises in the book and provides the tools necessary to activate these centers of transformative energy.
In the ancient science of tantra, the human body is viewed as the most perfect instrument for the expression of consciousness, a perfection realized through the development of psychic centers known as chakras. Located within the cerebrospinal system, the chakras are the stage upon which the interaction between higher consciousness and desire is played out. Consequently, it is through understanding and utilizing the energies of the chakras that we ultimately reach an enlightened state of being.
In Chakras, Indian scholar and tantra practitioner Harish Johari introduces the classical principles of the chakras as well as their practical application for today. In this expanded edition, complete with new art and text, he unfolds the mysteries of these subtle centers of transformation with visualization techniques essential to a fully realized tantric practice. Unlike other books in its field, Chakras provides the tools to activate these centers of transformative energy and elevate one's intellectual knowledge to an experience of spiritual growth.
Meditating on the beautiful, full-color illustrations of each chakra vitalizes the cerebrospinal centers and harmonizes the entire system both physically and psychically. Explanations of each chakra elaborate on the chakra's connection to elements, colors, sounds, sense and work organs, desires, planets and deities, as well as on behavioral characteristics and particular effects of meditation. For scholars and spiritual aspirants of every level, Chakras is an invaluable, practical source of information and techniques.
Chakras is an introduction to the classical understanding of chakras, which are most simply defined as psychic centers of transformation that enable one to move toward an enlightened state of being. Although the roots of the knowledge about chakras are of ancient origin, this knowledge is still functionally practical today. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means "a wheel, a disc, or any arrangement in circular form or organization." The ancient sources depict each of the seven major chakras as a lotus blossom, a circular form surrounded by petals, 'as we shall see illustrated in chapter 3, "The Essentials of the Chakras." The word chakra also indicates movement. Chakras introduce movement because they transform psychophysical energy into spiritual energy.
Psychophysical energy is electrochemical in nature and it works with the help of prana. Prana is the energy that creates life, matter, and mind. The word prana means "vital life force." Although our organism draws prana in through our nostrils as we breathe, dynamic prana energy is not based on the physiochemical system of the body; it operates super‑physically through a "wireless" system rather than through the nervous system.
Our body exists at two levels. The gross material level is composed of the seven dhatus‑flesh, bone, clay, blood, fat, marrow, fluids‑and the five elements‑earth, water, fire, air, and akasha (the void or space). The subtle level is composed of the vital life force (prana), mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), ego (ahamkara), and the feeling self (chitta). Prana is the means by which the subtle and the gross in the human organism are connected. It activates all of the systems in the body, including the nervous system, and helps them work together as they should.
Prana is distributed throughout the body by Nadis, channels of energy. The Nadi transport system belongs to the subtle body and the chakras are connected to the main Nadi of this system, the Sushumna, which operates within the vertebral (spinal) column. Chakras thus do not belong to the material body and cannot be described fully from a materialistic standpoint. Just as a painting cannot be described merely from the standpoint of its lines, curves, or varying shades of color, even though these can be said to form its basic structure, chakras cannot be defined physiologically, or through any physical science such as neurochemistry. However, chakras are not imaginary centers; they are subtle centers that can be activated by the techniques described in this book.
Chakras are active at all times, whether we are conscious of them or not. Energy influenced by the elementsearth, water, fire, air, and akasha‑moves through the chakras, producing different psychic states. These elements (tattvas) are constantly moving with the breath inside the body and influencing one's temperament. (These changes are understood by neurobiologists as chemical changes produced by the endocrine glands, ductless glands whose secretions mix into the body's blood stream directly and instantaneously.) With training, it is possible to observe oneself and see energy moving through these various psychic centers. In chapter 3, "The Essentials of the Chakras," we will explain in detail the attributes and effects of the chakras. We also will explore the behavioral characteristics related to the chakras, which are not typically found in books on the subject.
There are seven major chakras, associated with the areas of the body and the elements as shown:
1. Muladhara Chakra: the base of the spine and the element
2. Svadhishthana Chakra: the genitals and the element water
3. Manipura Chakra: the navel and the element fire
4. Anahata Chakra: the heart and the element air
5. Vishuddha Chakra: the throat and the element akasha (void or space)
6. Ajna Chakra: the point between the eyebrows and mahatattva, the combination of the essence of all the elements in their purest form
7. Sahasrara Chakra: the crown of the head, transcending all elemental influence; includes the Soma Chakra, associated with the area above the "third eye" or point between the eyebrows
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