Everyone loves the Chakras. They fascinate and enthrall us as they hold so much promise for healing, peace and spiritual growth. Over the last couple of decades the energy healing community worldwide has developed an amalgam of techniques for chakra balancing, such as crystals, color therapy, reiki etc. While these therapies can bring balance and healing to the body and mind, what I am presenting here is the classical Yoga interpretation of the chakras and their relationship to karma and Vedic Astrology.
Just as the solar system governs the external world, there is an inner solar system that governs our psyche. Each planet relates to the different Chakras as a reflection of the outer solar system within us.
While, Chakras can be experienced as a fluttering sensation of a "spinning wheel" inside different parts of the body during deep prayer or meditation they are NOT located in the physical body but rather in the subtle body. Yogis and spiritual masters practice deep and sustained spiritual techniques, mantras and austerities to awaken their Chakras in an attempt to go beyond the three dimensional physical realm and bring about radical change in their consciousness. Mastery of the Chakras also gives mastery over the five elements allowing them to transcend physical laws of physics and create what you and I would call "miracles".
Most of us are not ready for that type of radical change and should stay grounded in the real world until we are karmically ready. However, we can still use the knowledge of the Chakras to transform and heal our lives, especially through the understanding of how each Chakra has its corresponding element ( water, fire, earth, air and ether) and planet. During the dasha/bhukti (planetary period) of each planet in our horoscope we are given the opportunity to work on the evolution of the corresponding Chakra and element.
First Chakra - Muladhara - "root or foundation” - Earth Element, Saturn - This Chakra is about our basic and primal needs for survival such as food, sleep and shelter. Planning for the future, putting the right structures in place (such as storing food ) and the routine that we need to have in place for the daily care for the body such as excretion, nutrition, exercise and rest all relate to this Chakra .
As such, the Dashas/bhukti's (Planetary Period) of Saturn (or Sade Sati) usually limit our creative and even spiritual aspirations and the day to day mundane matters of security and survival of the body, including health, take central stage in our consciousness. In the physical body this chakra corresponds to the excretory system, which is where all mental and physical disease begin according to Ayurveda, so it is a the critical beginning point of our spiritual evolution. We can work on the enfoldment of our firstChakra by following healthy routines, staying grounded, living simply and working through our fears of poverty, structure, rules and obligations.
Yogis with a fully awakened first chakra have mastery over the earth element and no desire for any material possessions. In all mystical traditions a monks life begins with renunciation of worldly objects, with only a begging bowl as the sole possession.
Second Chakra - Svadhishthana - “the self abode” Water Element, Planets Venus and Jupiter - ThisChakra is located in the region of the sex and reproductive organs and also where the Kundalini Shaktiresides. In the first chakra our basic survival needs are met, now we move to more creative forces within us. On the basic level, it relates to sex but on the higher level it is the creative energy within us and our ability expand and procreate like the Gods.
Both Venus and Jupiter are highly benefic planets and their dasha/bhukti planetary periods can bring great opportunities to experience the creative abundance and generosity of nature but they can also cause us to over extend. If channeled incorrectly the urges of these planets and this chakra can become addictions through sex and other pleasure seeking. The enfoldment of this chakra requires discipline of our emotional urges and sublimation of our sexual drive into devotional and spiritual aspirations.
Yogis and great spiritual masters with a fully awakened second chakra have mastered the cosmic water element, whereby all emotional disturbances and desires (likes and dislikes) disappear as does the uncontrollable and natural sexual human urge. Hence, abstinence is an important aspect of most mystical traditions of the world.
Third Chakra - Manipura - “City of Gems” Fire Element, Planet Mars. This Chakra is located behind the naval area corresponding to the solar plexus, and the digestive system. This is the center of our personal "power" and ability to be independent and autonomous. It is here that we discover our inner strength of expression. Mars is the planet of action required to face challenges and danger with strength and honor. In the horoscope it also shows the level of independence, fearlessness and risk taking we are capable of.
While the first chakra is related to the day to day structure required for survival (Saturn) this chakra relates to surviving with courage, integrity, honor and strength. These themes will show up in thedasha/bhukti (Planetary Period )of Mars, where we are presented with battles and conflicts which test our resolve to act with confidence and courage.
Yogis and masters who have this chakras fully opened have merged into the cosmic fire element. Fearless and courageous they have sacrificed their ambition, sense of and self and ego into the burning fire to illuminate their True Self. They have surrendered their power to the divine will and can live totally in the present moment.
The First three chakras are about developing a healthy sense of personal strength and self awareness. These must be developed first before moving on to the higher chakras where the personal identity will seek to merge with the universal self.
Fourth Chakra - Anahata chakra “Unstruck Sound" - Water Element - Planets Venus and Moon. In the physical body this Chakra corresponds to the heart, circulatory system, and the thymus gland. This is where we harnesses our ability to give and to receive love. Here we recognize that there is more to life than the fulfillment of "my needs" and that real acts of love can be one sided without need for reciprocity.
This Chakra is very sensitive and easily blocked when we are wounded to protect ourselves from further pain. Dashas (planetary periods) of Moon and Venus if well placed in the horoscope can open our heart in the most profound ways, but if these planets carry emotional wounds they can also close down our heart and their loving patience can turn to fear, clinging and self absorption. Most psychological disorders such as PTSD involve some dysfunction of the heart Chakra due to the accumulation of negative emotions and lack of love (moon) and comfort (venus) in childhood. To heal this Chakra we have to practice empathy, compassion and most importantly true forgiveness of those who may have hurt us in the past.
This is the site of devotion and spiritual aspiration. When fully awakened in the hearts of spiritual masters it gives the capacity for one pointed devotional spiritual path (bhakti yoga), gratitude, universal compassion and the capacity to embrace all sentiments/feelings as manifestations of the divine.
Fifth Chakra - Vishuddha "Very Pure" - Air Element (Mercury) and Ether Element (Jupiter). In the physical body it corresponds to the larynx, respiratory system and the thyroid gland. People with access to this chakra are very persuasive and charismatic, orators, teachers, speakers and writers. They can communicate life issues and put concepts into words easily. To develop this chakra we must learn to "speak up" but also vigilantly pursue the study of the highest Truth to make sure we are communicating real intelligence and wisdom (not just emotional rants).
Spiritual Masters with this Chakra fully awakened have pure and inspirational expression and profound speech. People will be mesmerized by even the simplest of words that they communicate.
The last two chakras are beyond the five elements.
Sixth Chakra - Ajna “Command” - Sun and Moon - This is the command center and the "inner eye", for all the chakras. It is located near the third eye and corresponds to the cerebellum, medulla oblongata and pineal and pituitary gland.
The Sun and Moon are well known in yogic thought as the right and left eyes of the cosmic being oruniversal consciousness (purusha) and relate to the two petals of the third eye. They show the solar and lunar side of our consciousness, activated through the right and left, ida and pingala nadis that traverse the entire chakra system from the base of the spine to the nostrils. When energy is focused on thisChakra our clarity, discernment and perception is raised beyond the physical world into the astral world. Forcibly, awakening this chakra without first balancing the other 5 chakras can create illusions, and visions that can distort reality.
Spiritual masters with a fully awakened Ajna chakra gain divine perception and mastery over the mind as well as an awareness of the unity of all minds in the universe (hence they can read minds).
Seventh Chakra - Sahasrara - “thousand petelled lotus” - This is the seat of divine consciousness, where the True Self resides. The South Node Ketu, the point of potential liberation or enlightenment in our horoscope, relates to this Chakra.
There are many yogic techniques and practices that steer us towards the enfoldment of the previous six chakras but with this Chakra there are no guideposts or guides. Only a leap of faith can make you jump into the emptiness that beckons the seeker to awaken this Chakra. The dasha/bhukti (planetary period) of Ketu is usually very difficult precisely for this reason because one has to navigate a "path less path" that leads nowhere.
When fully awakened it gives the realization that everything is a manifestation of the Supreme Self. The experience of seeing oneself as one with all of existence one abides in the state of Self-realization. To awaken this chakra all sense of “I” and “mine” has to be transcended. There are many spiritual masters that reach the sixth chakra but there are very, very few fully realized masters, like Jesus and Budha, who have truly opened this chakra and completely transcended the three dimensional world. This is why so many gurus and teachers get caught up in scandals despite their best intention.
There are no shortcuts, machines, objects or other external forces that can awaken the Chakras at the yogic level of functioning. To awaken these subtle forces we have to work towards purifying the body and mind of our lower impulses and maintain sustained spiritual practices. We can begin by working through our karmas by expressing the highest potential of the planet whose dasha (planetary period) we are running.