Sadhguru looks at the anahata chakra, where the lower three chakras and the upper three meet. He discusses the possibilities and the perils of entering the realm of anahata, explaining that anahata is a tremendous place, but can become terrible if one is not ready for it.
Sadhguru: The anahata chakra is generally symbolized by two intersecting triangles that form a six-pointed star with a dot in the center. This is a symbolism of how the lower three chakras and the upper three chakras merge at this point in a certain way. That means the anahata has six qualities in one. Many cultures use this symbolism with many different connotations, but essentially, it comes from this meeting of the upward-moving triangle and the downward-facing triangle. The upward-moving triangle indicates that fundamentally, every creature is trying to rise in some way, whatever their understanding of rising may be.
The Natural Urge to Rise
A little worm may want to climb up a tree. A bird may want to soar up in the sky. A human being may want to become rich, famous and powerful, or get enlightened. All these are efforts to rise. This is the nature of the creation – every creature is trying to rise to its fullest potential. Some will do it consciously, most will do it unconsciously, but everyone is trying to rise.
You may think that a man who is running after money is no good. But no, he is also trying to rise through whatever staircase he has found. His staircase is cash right now. You may think your staircase is energy, experience, whatever. Someone else may think their staircase is emotion. Different people may think of or use different means, but every creature, human or otherwise, is trying to rise. This is the nature of life and creation.
This wanting to rise comes because you are geostatic, in the sense that you are stuck in one place. When you are here, you cannot be there. Because you are stuck in one place, you think that, of all the directions, going up is better.
The Source Is Everywhere
That which we are referring to as the very source of everything is not limited to one place. It moves everywhere and percolates into everything. It has no direction and no location. Only if you are stuck in one place, will you have a direction to go to. If you are not geostatic, you are everywhere. There is nowhere to go, so you soak everything that is there.
In this context, yogic terminology has used these two triangles. The creature is trying to move up. The source is neither coming down nor going up – it just seeps into everything. We could say it is like air – air enters not only your nostrils but also your ears, your skin pores, and your mouth if you open it. It has no choice about that – wherever there is space, it will enter.
Similarly – this is only an analogy – that which we consider as the source of creation is moving everywhere. But right now as you sit here, from your perspective, “good” air is moving down your air passage, and “bad” air is going up and coming out through the same passage. Our definition of good is always in terms of what is good for us. Other creatures on the planet may disagree with us. This is only a contextual understanding. In reality, air is going through your pores too, but the air passage is the main source. If you deny your breathing, you will die, so you know that this is a must.
Possibilities and Perils
In this context, what we consider as the creature, that is you, is trying to move up – this is the upward-moving triangle. What we consider as the source of creation or the Divine is the downward-facing triangle. The anahata is a place where both triangles intersect in proper alignment, forming a six-pointed figure with a central point. This means it has many possibilities in one place. If there are too many possibilities in one place, most people will miss all the possibilities. There are too many things happening there, so if people pay attention to them, they may end up not realizing anything, but it keeps them very well-entertained!
It is like a lot of kids these days who join up American universities, which give them a lot of freedom to choose their subjects. The students who are focused and know clearly what they want to do, or those who have been conditioned in a certain way, take up particular studies. Either you must be clear-headed or you must be fanatical to know what you want to do. Otherwise, people join up their undergrad, do one subject for two months, then they do something else for the next two months. They do yet another thing for another few months, and after four years, they still do not know what the hell they want to do. This is because there are so many possibilities. When there is no clarity, you dabble with everything, but you cannot choose. This is why a whole lot of people on the planet depend on luck.
With the anahata, there are too many choices. I have always avoided putting people on anahata sadhana, except for a handful of them, because there are too many choices and too much confusion. To go into anahata sadhana, two things are needed: sweetness of emotion and absolute steadiness of the intellect. Intellect means discernment; there must be discernment between what is real and what is not real, what is memory and what is imagination, what is experience and what are psychological figments. Without this discernment, the anahata is not the place to go, because this is a place where you hear and see things in a way that even a reasonably stable person can go crazy. Someone who anyway has some tendency in that direction will go all the way.
Anahata – The Unstruck Sound
The word anahata means a sound without reverb. It is called anahata or “unstruck sound” because the first manifestation of the anahata is the occurrence of sounds. Most of the sounds on the planet happen because something strikes something. This is an unstruck sound – if you simply sit in silence, all kinds of sounds will happen – one hundred and eight different varieties of such sounds have been identified. Based on this, different deities in this culture have been associated with different sounds. For example, if you say “Shiva,” it is a damaru. For those of you who have no cultural exposure to these things, a damaru is a drum in the form of two equilateral triangles meeting at their tips.
When you come to the anahata, or when your energy is dominant in the anahata, you will start to hear sounds that you could not hear till now. The sound of a bell, a drum, or a wind instrument like a flute – these kinds of things may begin to happen. You will start to hear or perceive the language of the birds, the animals, the earth, and the atmosphere. Hearing these things comes from the anahata.
Hearing things is otherwise considered as a sign of psychological imbalance, and it is. Those who are psychologically imbalanced in one way may become perceptive in some other way. One dislocation enables them in another way, but this kind of enabling is not good for you. It is like putting a child, who has just began to walk, in a marathon race – for sure he would damage himself. Too much of a good thing turns bad if you are not prepared and ready for it.
This is why before you hear anything, your discernment must be crystal clear and your emotion must be sweet. Without a constant sense of sweetness of emotion within you, there are many things you cannot do; you are truly disabled. Without sweetness of emotion, you are denying yourself the universe, including everything here on this planet. Only if you master your emotion to become very sweet no matter what, can you go into different explorations and be fine. Otherwise, if you go into the anahata and see or hear something that you do not know, you may be terrified.
It is like watching what is considered a horror movie. From the bits I have seen, these movies are pathetic. They do not horrify me. For example, blood will suddenly come out of the eyes. Blood is always flowing in the body. If a little leak happens, what is so horrifying about it? What does it matter from where it leaks? This is only supposed to be horror because a whole lot of people are not aware that blood is flowing in their body. Similarly, for people who are ignorant, touching the anahata – where suddenly something from within happens and images come up – can be an absolutely terrifying experience.
Fierce Deities and the Anahata
In the yogic science, there is a dimension of yoga called tantra yoga. One important aspect of tantra is that the yogis create their own deities – they create a certain energy form and make it alive. That form – either he or she or whatever it is – walks with the yogi all the time. This is why he needs no company and does not get married, because he has constant company. Generally, these yogis created female forms with terrible attributes.
You may have seen images of Rakini, Dakini, Chinnamasta, Kali – these are all terrible feminine manifestations. One reason why they created these kinds of images is because they wanted them to be like that. They wanted someone next to them whom they cannot be drawn to for their physical beauty or whatever else. Another reason is, let us say we gave you a lump of clay and said, “Make an image of Adiyogi,” you know how it would turn out – not by choice; simply because you are clumsy with your hands.
For whatever reason, they created these kinds of forms. The yogis who created them are gone long ago. They fulfilled the purpose for which they created these deities, and they let them loose. Many of these forms are still around, and there are people who are still making use of them. If you hit your anahata, these forms think a welcome bell has been struck, and they tend to come to you. If they come, you will not play with them – you will be terrified, simply because they do not look like you.
Suppose somebody just had two holes instead of a nose – looking at him, you would be terrified. When you are in such a state, you should not go into anahata, because it will draw different types of subtle forms. The anahata has the power of creation; this is where a human being can create. Once you touch this dimension, such forms will be attracted to you. Before art, music, and other things, these subtle forms of creation will come to you, because they are the lightest forms in existence – they have least inertia. Kali will come to you. Some people spend their entire lives wanting to see Kali, but if she comes in your sleep, we will have to wash your bed tomorrow! It has happened to many people, people who thought they are perfectly normal and brave enough to explore different things – one little something and they are finished, for life.
If you leave the anahata, you will naturally end up in the vishuddhi. The vishuddhi is the center of occult. If you want to master the occult, you must first come to terms with other kinds of beings who do not look like you. Anybody who does not look like you seems weird to you. Kali, Chinnamasta, Dakini, Lankini will start coming in. It is a wonderful opportunity, but if you have not maintained the necessary sweetness of emotion and sharpness of intellect, this can become a terrible experience that may break your mind.
Predicament of the Times
If every day, something weird appeared in their dream, not even in reality, a whole lot of people would lose their mind because they do not have much of a mind anyway. I am not saying this to be sarcastic. Particularly the modern education systems have done humanity a huge disservice by not working on the mind but only on the memory. The focus of modern education systems is on producing a product that will fit somewhere into our economic engine, not on trying to produce a great human being. Society is not interested in great human beings because they may not follow instructions. They may not fit into the social milieu. Most of those who showed any sign of greatness were slaughtered in the past because the mediocre is safe, but greatness may turn things upside down.
Right now, the human mind is not being developed to handle both sweetness of emotion and sharpness of intellect together. Most commonly, people who have a reasonably sharp mind are in a bitter emotional state within themselves. You will see very few people with a sharp mind and sweetness of emotion. Those who have a sharp mind think they have to cut everyone. Those who have sweetness of emotion are considered as fools. This is almost a given in the world: If you are intellectually sharp, you will not be emotionally sweet. If you are emotionally sweet, you are considered a fool. This kind of categorization is happening in the world, which is not a good thing at all. The anahata is a fantastic place, but I find in today’s world, getting people to sharpen their mind and turn their emotion sweet is quite a job.
Anahata Sadhana Takes Balance
Certain traditions see the entering of the anahata as the meeting of two dimensions of yourself. Others, who are more tantric in nature, see it as a human being meeting his divine potential in the anahata. The anahata is a tremendous place, but it can become terrible if you are not ready for it. The core of the universe must be a tremendous place, but are you ready to go to that place? Your system needs to be equipped to go there.
Editor’s Note: The “Power to Create” meditations for Peace, Love, Health, and Success (also known as “Chit Shakti”) enable each one of us to become our own alchemist, by empowering us to transform long cherished desires into reality. Try them out!
A version of this article was originally published in Forest Flower, October 2017.