Monday 16 August 2010

Tantra and Yoga are Sciences

New Age Chakras
New Age Map

The New Age is full of versions of "anything goes" or "whatever you believe is true" or " you create your own reality", all of which are the opposite of a science, where things have to be tested and verified and considered in relation to previous truths. Here is a small example.The chakras are centres in the body which connect physical and energy bodies together. They are important in tantra as part of the map by which we can move energy and consciousness through the body. The chakras are actually rooted inside the body near the spine but I will only talk of where they "surface" at the front.  If you look in most modern western books the Third Chakra, traditionally called Manipura (City of Jewels) is located at the solar plexus; just below the ribcage and the second chakra is at the level of the navel. The third chakra is usually called the Solar Plexus Chakra.  Above are typical New Age pictures of the chakras.

Traditional Chakra Map

However, traditionally in all the ancient texts Manipura is known as the Solar chakra and not connected with the solar plexus. It is also sometimes called the Navel Chakra, Nabhi Padma and its location is at the navel or, some yogis even suggest one finger width below the navel. This is where the New Age puts the second chakra! Traditionally the second chakra is two finger widths above the pubic bone. Basically everything has shifted by one chakra and been moved up about four inches!  Here is a typical picture of this version. Notice the positions of the second and third chakras.

Traditional Chakra Map

How did this happen? It probably stems from a misunderstanding by Theosophists in the late nineteenth century where the solar chakra got mixed up with the solar plexus. C.W. Leadbeater's book  The Chakras in 1927 certainly has this and influenced the New Age view of the chakras.  They are generally based on using the chakras for healing; whereas in tantra, meditating on the chakras is a means of  dissolving unconscious imprints and obstacles to union with the Divine source.

So if the third chakra is at the navel, put you hand there. This is your centre of power, will and playfulness it is also the hara or tan tien in Japanese and Chinese and a place for the accumulation of energy. It is connected with the element of fire; the fire of the jewel shining like the sun at this centre.