Sadhguru tells us about the chakras or junction points of nadis, and explains the significance of the fundamental seven chakras.
Sadhguru: There is too much of chakra talk going on everywhere. Especially in the West, wherever you go, there are “wheel alignment centers” where they “align” your chakras and this and that. From yoga studios to chiropractics, everybody is talking about it these days. That has become the fashion.
There are 114 chakras in the body. There are many more, these are the major ones. You can see them as 114 junction boxes or confluence of nadis. These junctions are always in the form of triangles. Because it embodies movement from one dimension to another, it is referred to as a "chakra," which means “wheel” or “circle,” but it is actually a triangle. Out of these 114, two are outside the physical body. Of the remaining 112, only 108 can actually be worked upon, the remaining four just flower as a consequence.
The number 108 has manifested in the human system because it is a significant number in the making of the solar system. The diameter of the sun and the distance between the earth and the sun is 108 times. The diameter of the moon and the distance between the earth and the moon is 108 times. The diameter of the earth and the diameter of the sun is 108 times. And hence, 108 is significant in various spiritual practices.
The seven fundamental chakras
The seven fundamental chakras are known as muladhara, which is located at the perineum, the space between the anal outlet and the genital organ; swadhisthana, which is just above the genital organ; manipuraka, which is just below the navel; anahata, which is just beneath where the rib cage meets; vishuddhi, which is at the pit of the throat; ajna, which is between the eyebrows; and sahasrara, also known as brahmarandra, which is at the top of the head, where when a child is born, there is a soft spot.
We can speak in terms of lower and higher energy centers, but such language is often and too easily misunderstood. It is like comparing the foundation of a building to the roof. The roof is not superior to the foundation. The foundation of the building is more basic to the building than the roof. The quality, life span, stability and security of the building depends to a large extent on the foundation rather than the roof. But in terms of language, the roof is higher, and the foundation is lower.
If your energies are dominant in muladhara, then food and sleep will be the most dominant factors in your life. Chakras have more than one dimension to them. One dimension is their physical existence, but they also have a spiritual dimension. This means that they can be completely transformed. For example, if you bring the right kind of awareness, the same muladhara that craves food and sleep, can become absolutely free from the process of food and sleep.
These chakras have a manifestation in the body and they also have a subtler manifestation. These manifestations are called kshetras. Kshetra means a place where someone resides. You may be here, but your residence is somewhere else. Just like that, there are kshetras that are external ones, called bahya kshetras, and there are internal ones called antar kshetras. There is a home and a holiday home!
When you are at home, you will be one way. Generally, the mundane occupies your time and life – cooking, cleaning, fixing - most of your time goes in this. When you go to your holiday home, even though there is cooking, cleaning and all the other things, the mundane does not occupy the whole of you. It is a more exuberant existence. A home in the mountain is supposed to be more exuberant existence, though it may be physically more taxing than being at home. Being at home is easier. Many people have given up and just stay at home because it's easier. The reason why you went to another home away from home is you still want to know the coziness of a home, you don’t want to stay in a hotel, but you want a more exuberant existence. The Creator provided for all that. You can be in the antar kshetra, not so vibrant and just sleeping, or you can be in the bahya kshetra. Any time you want to go back home, it's not a problem, you can always step back.
The second chakra is swadhisthana. If your energies are dominant in swadhisthana, pleasures will be most dominant in your life – you seek pleasures, you enjoy the physical reality in so many ways. If your energies are dominant in manipuraka, you are a doer; you can do many things in the world. If your energies are dominant in anahata, you are a very creative person. If your energies are dominant in vishuddhi, you become very powerful. If your energies are dominant in agna or if you attain to ajna, then intellectually, you are realized. Intellectual realization gives you peace. Experientially it has not happened yet but intellectual realization has come to you, which brings you to a certain state of peace and stability within yourself irrespective of what is happening outside of you. Once your energies hit sahasrara, simply like crazy you are ecstatic. There is no external stimulant, there is simply no reason, but you are ecstatic simply because energies have touched a certain peak.
Fundamentally, any spiritual path can be described as a journey from the muladhara to the sahasrar. This journey is an evolution from one dimension to another; these are just seven different levels of intensity.
To move your energies from muladhara to ajna, there are many spiritual processes and several ways, but to move from ajna to sahasrara, there is no path. There is no particular way. One has to either jump or fall into a bottomless pit. This is called “falling upward.” In yoga, they say unless you are willing to fall upward, you won’t get there.
This is why so many so-called spiritual people have come to the conclusion that peace is the highest possibility – because they got stuck in agna. Peace is not the highest possibility. You can become ecstatic, so ecstatic that the whole world becomes a big joke in your understanding and experience. Everything that is dead serious for everybody is just a joke for you.
People come and stop there for a long time, just to make up their mind to jump. This is why in the spiritual traditions, so much stress was always laid on the Guru-shishya relationship – the master-disciple relationship – is simply because if you have to take this jump you need deep trust in the Guru. 99.9% of the people need trust, otherwise they cannot jump. This is the reason why so much stress is laid on this relationship, because without trust, one will never take that jump.
Editor’s note: This article has been excerpted from the book, “Body, the Greatest Gadget,” available as an ebook and print book.