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Letters on Yoga - I
“The System of the Chakras”

Letters on Yoga I - The System of the Chakras.jpg
PDF (16 pages)

“It is by their opening that the Yogic or inner consciousness develops — otherwise you are bound to the ordinary outer consciousness.”[1]

“The psycho-physical science of Yoga [...] takes account of the psychical or mental body behind of which the physical is a sort of reproduction in gross form, and is able to discover thereby secrets of the physical body which do not appear to a purely physical enquiry. 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 nāḍī, — 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 nāḍīs.
         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.”[2]

“The tantrics recognize seven chakras, I believe. Théon 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.”[3]

See also