Our reflection on the psychic centers begins from ajna chakra. According to tradition,
mooJadhara is generally designated as the first chakra since it is the seat of kundalini
shakti. However, there is another system in which consideration and study of the chakras
commences from ajna.
Ajna chakra is the point of confluence where the three main nadis or forces - ida,
pingala and sushumna merge into one stream of consciousness and flow up to sahasrara,
the crown center. In mythology, these three nadis are represented by three great rivers -
Ganga (ida), Jamuna (pingala) and Saraswati (a subterranean current which represents
sushumna). They converge at a place called Prayag or Triveni, which is near present day
Allahabad. Hindus believe that every twelve years, when the sun is in Aquarius, if one
takes a dip at the point of confluence, he or she will be purifiedю This place of
confluence corresponds symbolically to ajna chakra.When the mind is concentrated at this conjunction, transformation of individual
consciousness is brought about by the merging of the three great forces. Individual
consciousness is mainly comprised of ego, and it is on account of ego that we are aware
of dualities. As long as there is duality there cannot be samadhi; as long as you remember
yourself you cannot get out of yourself.
Although there are experiences of trance in other chakras, there is no merger of the
individual ego with the cosmic ego. All throughout you find you are trying to assert
yourself behind all the experiences you are having, but when ida and pingala unite with
sushumna in ajna chakra, you lose yourself completely. I don't mean that you become
unconscious. Your awareness expands and becomes homogeneous. Then individual
awareness falls flat and you completely transcend the realm of duality. Thus ajna chakra
is a very important center, which you must experience in order to bring about purification
of the mind. Once the mind is purified the experience and awakening of the other chakras
There is a certain problem with the awakening of the other chakras. Each one
contains a store of karmas or samskara, both good and bad, positive and negative, painful
and pleasant. The awakening of any chakra will definitely bring to the surface an
explosion or expression of these karmas, and of course, not everybody is prepared or
ready to face them. Only those who have reason and understanding are able to cope.
Therefore it is said that before you start awakening and manifesting the great force, it is
best to purify the mind at the point of confluence. Then, with a purified mind, you can
awaken the other chakras. For this reason we begin our exposition of the chakras with
The center of command
The word ajna comes from the Sanskrit root which means 'to know, to obey or to
follow'. Literally, ajna means 'command' or 'the monitoring center'. In astrology ajna is
the center of Jupiter, which symbolizes the guru or preceptor. Amongst the deities,
Jupiter is represented by Brihaspati, the guru of the devas and preceptor of the gods.
Therefore, this center is also known as 'the guru chakra'.
Ajna is the bridge which links the guru with his disciples. It represents the level at
which it is possible for direct mind to mind communication to take place between two
people. It is in this chakra that communication with the external guru, the teacher or
preceptor takes place. And it is here that the directions of the inner guru are heard in the
deepest state of meditation, when all the sense modalities are withdrawn and one enters
the state of shoonya or void.
This is a state of absolute nothingness, where the empirical experiences of name and
form, subject and object, do not penetrate. In this completely static state, the light of the
mind is extinguished; the consciousness ceases to function, and no ego awareness
remains. This void state is the same as the death experience, and in order to traverse it the
voice or command of the guru must be heard in ajna chakra.Of course if you are new to spiritual life you won't be facing this problem yet, but
when it comes you will find it very difficult to manage. At the moment your problems are
just mental - dispersion of mind, worries, anxiety, restlessness, etc., but when the night is
dark and you have gone very deep in meditation, losing your individual awareness, the
only thing that can guide you at this point is the instructions or command of your guru
heard through ajna chakra.
It has also been called 'the eye of intuition', and it is the doorway through which the
individual enters the astral and psychic dimension of consciousness. Perhaps the most
common name for this chakra is 'the third eye', and the mystical traditions of every age
and culture make abundant references to it. It is portrayed as a psychic eye located
midway between the two physical eyes and it looks inward instead of outward.
In India, ajna chakra is called divya chakshu (the divine eye), gyana chakshu or
gyana netra (the eye of knowledge) because it is the channel through which the spiritual
aspirant receives revelation and insight into the underlying nature of existence. It is also
called 'the eye of Shiva', for Shiva is the epitome of meditation, which is directly
associated with the awakening of ajna chakra.
It is interesting to note that ajna chakra is more active in females than it is in males.
Women are more sensitive, psychic and perceptive and they are often able to predict
coming events. However, in most people this inner eye remains closed, and though they
see the events of the outside world, knowledge and understanding of truth cannot be
gained. In this sense, we are blind to the real possibilities of the world, unable to view the
deeper levels of human existence.
The location point
Ajna chakra is located in the brain directly behind the eyebrow center. It is at the very
top of the spinal cord, at the medulla oblongata. Initially it is very hard to feel the exact
location point of ajna, so we concentrate on ajna kshetram, at the mid-eyebrow center,
bhrumadhya. These two centers are directly connected. That is why it has always been an
Indian custom to place tilaka, chandan, sindur or kumkum on the mid-eyebrow center.
Sindur contains mercury, and when it is applied to the eyebrow center a constant pressure
is exerted on the nerve which runs from bhrumadhya to the medulla oblongata. Maybe
the original purpose for applying these substances has been forgotten by most people
today, but it is not a religious mark or even a beauty spot. It is a means by which you can
maintain constant conscious and unconscious awareness of ajna chakra.
It should also be mentioned here that ajna chakra and the pineal gland are one and the
same thing. The pituitary gland is sahasrara, and just as the pituitary and pineal glands are
intimately connected, so are ajna and sahasrara. We could say that ajna is the gateway to
sahasrara chakra. If ajna is awakened and functioning properly, all the experiences
happening in sahasrara can be managed well.The pineal gland acts as a lock on the pituitary. As long as the pineal gland is healthy,
the functions of the pituitary are controlled. However, in most of us, the pineal gland
started to degenerate when we reached the age of 8, 9 or 10. Then the pituitary began to
function and to secrete various hormones which instigated our sexual consciousness, our
sensuality and worldly personality. At this time we began to lose touch with our spiritual
heritage. However, through various yogic techniques, such as trataka and shambhavi
mudra, it is possible to regenerate or maintain the health of the pineal gland.
Ajna is symbolized by a two petalled lotus. According to the scriptures it is a pale
color, light grey like a rainy day. Some say it is white like the moon, or silver, but
actually it is an intangible color. On the left petal is the letter ham and on the right ksham.
Ham and ksham are inscribed in a silvery white color and are the bija mantras for Shiva
and Shakti. One represents the moon or ida nadi and the other the sun or pingala nadi.
Below the chakra the three nadis merge - ida on the left, pingala on the right and
sushumna in between.
Within the lotus is a perfectly round circle which symbolizes shoonya, the void.
Within the circle is an inverted triangle which represents shakti - creativity and
manifestation. Above the triangle is a black shivalingam. Shivalingam is not, as many
people believe, a phallic symbol. It is the symbol of your astral body. According to tantra
and occult sciences, the astral body is the attribute of your personality, and in the form of
shivalingam, it can be one of three colors, depending on the purification or evolution of
In mooladhara chakra the lingam is smoky and ill-defined. It is known as dhumra
lingam, and we can compare this with our state of consciousness when we live an
instinctive life. We have no real concept of ourselves or what we are. Ajna chakra has a
black lingam with a very consolidated outline. It is called the itarakhya lingam. Here, in
ajna, the awareness of 'what I am' is more sharply defined and various capacities are
being awakened. In sahasrara the consciousness is illumined and therefore the lingam
there is luminous. It is called the jyotir lingam.
When a person of unevolved mind concentrates, he experiences the shivalingam in the
form of a smoky column. It comes and then disperses, comes again and disperses, and so
on. With deeper concentration, as the restlessness of the mind is annihilated, the lingam
becomes black in color. By concentrating on that black shivalingam, the jyotir lingam is
produced within the illumined astral consciousness. Therefore, the black lingam of ajna
chakra is the key to the greater spiritual dimension of life.
Over the shivalingam is the traditional symbol of Оm, with its tail on top and the
crescent moon and bindu above that. Om is the bija mantra and symbol of ajna chakra,
and above its form can be seen the raif, the trace of sound consciousness. Paramshiva is
the deity of ajna chakra and he shines like a chain of lightning flashes. The goddess is the
pure minded Hakini whose six faces are like so many moons.Each chakra is considered to possess a tanmatra, or specific sense of modality, a
gyanendriya or organ of sense perception, and a karmendriya or organ of action. The
tanmatra, gyanendriya and karmendriya of ajna chakra are all considered to be the mind.
The mind is able to gain knowledge by subtle means rather than by the input of sense
data from the various sense organs, which are the gyanendriyas of the other chakras. The
mind perceives knowledge directly via a sixth or intuitive sense, which comes into
operation as ajna chakra awakens. This sense is the gyanendriya of the mind. Similarly,
the mind can manifest actively without the aid of the physical body. This is the faculty of
astral projection, which manifests with the awakening of ajna chakra. Therefore, mind is
considered to be the karmendriya of ajna. The mode of operation of this center is purely
mental and so the tanmatra is also the mind. The plane is tapa loka, where vestiges of
imperfection are purified and the karmas are burned away. Along with vishuddhi chakra,
ajna forms the basis for vigyanamaya kosha, which initiates psychic development.
Often, the experience one has when awakening takes place in ajna is similar to that
induced by ganja (marijuana) or any other drug of that type. He who meditates on this
awakened chakra sees a flaming lamp shining as the morning sun and he dwells within
the regions of fire, sun and moon. He is able to enter another's body at will, and becomes
the most excellent amongst munis, being all-knowing and all-seeing. He becomes the
benefactor of all and is versed in all the shastras. He realizes his unity with the Brahman
and acquires siddhis. Different results accruing out of meditation on the various centers
are collectively realized by meditating on this center alone.
Ajna and the mind
So, ajna is essentially the chakra of the mind, representing a higher level of
awareness. Whenever you concentrate on something, whether it is mooladhara,
swadhisthana or manipura chakra, or you concentrate on an external object or an idea,
ajna is affected, sometimes mildly, sometimes powerfully, depending on the degree of
your concentration. When we visualize or when we dream at night, the inner vision that
occurs is through ajna. If you are eating, sleeping or talking and you are not aware of it,
then ajna is not operating. But if you are talking and one area of your awareness knows it,
this knowing, this awareness is the faculty of ajna.
When you develop ajna, you can have knowledge without the aid of the senses.
Normally, all knowledge comes to us by means of information the senses conduct to the
brain, and a process of classification, logic and intellect that takes place in the frontal
brain. However, the smaller brain, where ajna chakra is situated, has the capacity to
acquire knowledge directly without the aid of the indriyas or senses. Supposing it is a
very cloudy day, you can know, through logic, that it will rain. But if there are no clouds
in the sky and still you know beyond a doubt that it will rain, this means your intuition
and perception are very acute and ajna chakra is functioning.When ajna is awakened, fickleness of the individual mind disperses and the purified
buddhi (subtle intelligence or higher perception) manifests. Attachment, which is the
cause of ignorance and lack of discrimination drops away, and sankalpa shakti
(willpower) becomes very strong. Mental resolves are almost immediately converted into
fruits, provided they are in accordance with individual dharma.
Ajna is the witnessing center where one becomes the detached observer of all events,
including those within the body and mind. Here the level of awareness is developed
whereby one begins to 'see' the hidden essence underlying all visible appearances. When
ajna is awakened, the meaning and significance of symbols flashes into one's conscious
perception and intuitive knowledge arises effortlessly.
This is the center of extrasensory perception where various siddhis manifest
according to one's samskaras or mental tendencies. For this reason, ajna chakra is said to
resemble a knot directly on top of the spinal cord. According to tantra this knot is called
rudra granthi, the knot of Shiva. This knot is symbolic of the aspirant's attachment to the
newly developed siddhis which accompany the awakening of ajna. The knot effectively
blocks the spiritual evolution until attachment to psychic phenomena is overcome and the
knot in consciousness is freed.
Understanding cause and effect
Up until ajna chakra awakens, we are under delusions, we view things incorrectly and
we have many great misconceptions, about love and attachment, hatred and jealousy,
tragedy and comedy, victory and defeat, and so many things. Our fears are unfounded, so
are our jealousies and attachments, but still we have them. Our mind is functioning within
a limited sphere and we can't transcend it. Just as we dream at night and our dream
experiences are relative, we are also dreaming in our waking state and our experiences
are relative. In the same way that we wake from a dream, when ajna awakens, there is
also a process of waking up from this present dream we are living, and we can fully
understand the relationship between cause and eflect.
It is necessary for us to understand the law of cause and effect in relation to our lives,
otherwise we are depressed and sorrowful about certain events in life. Supposing you
give birth to a child and shortly after it dies. Why did it happen? This is what everybody
would ask, isn't it? If a child was meant to die straight after birth, why was it born at all?
You can only understand the reason if you understand the laws of cause and effect.
Cause and effect are not immediate events. Each and every action is both a cause and
an effect. This life we have is an effect, but what was the cause? You have to discover it,
then you can understand the relationship between cause and effect. It is only after
awakening of ajna chakra that these laws can be known. Thereafter your whole
philosophical attitude and approach to life changes. No events of life affect you
adversely, and the various objects and experiences that come into your life and fade out
of your life do not disturb you at all. You participate in all the affairs of life and you livefully, but as a detached witness. Life flows like a fast current and you surrender and move
Moving on from ajna to sahasrara
To reach ajna chakra it requires sadhana, discipline, firm belief and persistent effort.
With our present state of mind it is not possible to know how to reach sahasrara, but once
ajna chakra becomes active, you develop superior perception and you realize how
sahasrara can be reached. It's like setting out on a journey from Munger to Marine Drive,
Bombay. The most important stage of the journey is the long train trip to Bombay. Once
you are there, reaching Marine Drive is no problem. It's easy to find the way, you just
take a taxi and go there. So, in my opinion, it is not important for us to know how to
reach sahasrara from ajna chakra, but it is essential for us to know how to awaken ajna.
Yoga nidra can be used very effectively to develop your awareness of the chakras.
Here is an example of a yoga nidra/relaxation session which includes visualization and
rotation of awareness through the psychic centers. Teachers can adopt this practice
directly for their classes. For personal use, someone can lead you through the practice, or
you can put the instructions onto a tape.
Stage 1: Preparation
Place a folded blanket on the floor and lie on it in shavasana. Loosen your clothing so
you feel perfectly comfortable. If necessary, cover yourself with a blanket to keep warm,
or put a sheet over you to keep insects away. The mouth and eyes should remain closed
throughout the practice. Make sure that the spinal column is straight, in line with the head
and neck, and that the hips and shoulders are fully relaxed. Keep the feet and legs slightly
apart. The arms should be beside your body but not touching, and the palms should be
facing up. Adjust your position so that you feel perfectly comfortable. Tell yourself
firmly that you will not move your body throughout the practice.Stage 2: Sinking of the body
Look at the space in front of your closed eyes. Imagine that the space surrounds your
whole body. Your body is immersed in that space. Simultaneously be aware of your
body. It feels very light, as light as a leaf falling from a tree. Imagine that your body is
slowly sinking into the space that you see in front of your closed eyes, like a falling
leaf. Your body is slowly sinking into the infinite space. Be aware of this
feeling. Continue in this manner for a few minutes.
Stage 3: Rhythmical breath awareness
Become aware of your breathing. Awareness of the rise and fall of the navel with
each breath. As you breathe in, imagine that you are sucking in air through the navel. As
you breathe out, imagine that you are pushing air out from the navel. It is a rhythmical
process. Do not alter the natural breath in any way, just become aware of it.
Stage 4: Sankalpa
Repeat your sankalpa in a short positive sentence. It should be the crystallization of
your spiritual aspiration and you should not change it. Repeat it with feeling, from the
heart, not the lips. Repeat your sankalpa at least 3 times.
Stage 5: Visualization - body awareness
Now try to visualize your own body. Imagine that you are viewing it from
outside. Feel that your perception is outside and your body is an object of study. You may
find visualization difficult - do not worry, just do your best. If you wish, you can imagine
that there is a large mirror suspended over your body and that your body is reflected in
it. Look at your own reflection. See your whole body: feet, knees, thighs, abdomen, chest,
both hands, arms, shoulders, neck, head, mouth, nose, ears, eyes, eyebrow center, your
whole face and your whole body. Combine your rotation of awareness with visualization
of that part. Continue in this manner for a few minutes.
Stage 6: Psychic centers - rotation of awareness
Now you have to discover the location of the chakras. You have to develop awareness
of each psychic center in the body. Start from the base of the spine and move your
awareness upward. First become aware of mooladhara. In the male body it is situated in
the perineum, between the anus and genitals, and in the female body it is located at the
cervix - the mouth of the womb. Try to feel the sensation at mooladhara. It is a very
specific point which you are trying to isolate. When you have found it, repeat mentally,
'mooladhara, mooladhara, mooladhara'.
Now move on to the second chakra, swadhisthana. It is located at the base of the
spine, in the coccyx. Be aware of the sensation at that point and repeat mentally,
'swadhisthana, swadhisthana, swadhisthana'. The third chakra is manipura. It is located inthe spine in line with the navel. Feel this point and mentally repeat, 'manipura, manipura,
manipura'. Then become aware of anahata chakra, located in the spine, directly behind
the center of the chest. Try to locate that point exactly and mentally repeat, 'anahata,
anahata, anahata'. Now bring your awareness to vishuddhi chakra, situated in the spine,
directly behind the throat pit. Feel the sensations arising at that point and mentally repeat,
'vishuddhi, vishuddhi, vishuddhi'. The next chakra is ajna. It is located at the very top of
the spine in the region of the pineal gland, directly behind the eyebrow center. Fix your
awareness on that area and mentally repeat, 'ajna, ajna, ajna'. Now bring your awareness
to bindu, at the top back portion of the head. Feel that tiny point as precisely as possible,
and repeat mentally, 'bindu, bindu, bindu'. Finally, become aware of sahasrara, at the
crown of the head, and repeat mentally, 'sahasrara, sahasrara, sahasrara'. Now repeat this
process, slowly descending through the chakras in reverse order: sahasrara, bindu, ajna,
vishuddhi, anahata, manipura, swadhisthana and mooladhara. This is one complete round
of chakra rotation.
Start a second round: mooladhara, swadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddhi, ajna,
bindu, sahasrara; sahasrara, bindu, ajna, vishuddhi, anahata, manipura, swadhisthana,
mooladhara. This completes the second round. Begin a third round, this time a little
faster. As you fix your attention at each point, try to feel a slight vibration there, a tiny
pulsation. If you wish, you can chant Оm mentally as you locate each point in
turn. Practise at least 5 rounds and as many more as time permits.
Stage 7: Psychic centers - visualization
Now try to visualize the symbols of each chakra. This is not easy, but try. You can
use your own personal system of psychic symbols or the traditional chakra symbols as
follows. As each chakra is named, try to feel that point being lightly pressed by the
thumb, and simultaneously visualize the symbol. The psychic symbol for mooladhara is a
deep red, four-petalled totus. Inside there is a smoky lingam around which a snake is
coiled three and a half times with its head facing upward.Try to visualize this symbol to
the best of your ability and associate it with that particular location in the body.Then
proceed to swadhisthana chakra. The symbol is a six-petalled vermilion lotus, within
which is depicted a starry night above the sea. The main focal point is the crescent
moon. Try to visualize this symbol. Move to manipura chakra. It is symbolized by a tenpetalled yellow lotus, and in the center is a blazing fire. Visualize this symbol, imagining
that the lotus is actually growing from manipura chakra. Proceed to anahata chakra,
represented by a twelve-petalled blue lotus. In the center is a solitary flame burning in the
darkness. Try to visualize this symbol while feeling the exact position in the body. Move
to vishuddhi chakra, symbolized by a sixteen-petalled purple lotus. In the middle there is
a pure white drop of nectar. Visualize this location in the body. Then proceed to ajna
chakra which is symbolized by a two-petalled silver-grey lotus. On the left hand petal is
the full moon and on the right hand petal, a glowing sun. In the center is a black lingarn
and an Оm sign. Create a mental image of this symbol and its exact location. Move on to
bindu. It is symbolized by a tiny white drop of nectar. Visualize this symbol at the top
back of the head. Finally, move to sahasrara, the fountainhead of all the chakras. It is
represented by a thousand-petalied lotus. In the center is a white lingam. Visualize thissymbol at the crown of the head. Now visualize all these symbols in the reverse order:
sahasrara, bindu, ajna, vishuddhi, anahata, manipura, swadhisthana and mooladhara. This
is the end of one round. Spend a few seconds visualizing each center. Do a few more
rounds according to the amount of time available.
Stage 8: Eyebrow center awareness
Fix your attention at the eyebrow center. Feel your pulse at this point. Become aware
of its continuous rhythmical beat. Mentally synchronize repetition of the mantra Оm with
this pulse. Continue for a few minutes.
Stage 9: Sankalpa and close
Repeat your sankalpa 3 times with full emphasis and feeling. Become aware of your
natural breath. Become aware of your whole physical body. Become aware of the outer
sense perceptions. Slowly begin to move your body. When you are fully retuned to the
external world, slowly sit up and open your eyes.www.gemsofyogadubai.com