Chakra UP026

Chakra are various focal points used in a variety of ancient meditation practices, collectively denominated as Tantra, or the esoteric or inner traditions of Hinduism. The concept is found in the early traditions of Hinduism.

Beliefs differ between the Indian religions, with many Buddhist texts consistently mentioning five chakras, while Hindu sources offer six or even seven. Early Sanskrit texts speak of them both as meditative visualizations combining flowers and mantras and as physical entities in the body.

Chakra is a part of the esoteric medieval era beliefs about physiology and psychic centers that emerged across Indian traditions. The belief held that human life simultaneously exists in two parallel dimensions, one "physical body" (sthula sarira) and other "psychological, emotional, mind, non-physical" it is called the "subtle body" (sukshma sarira). This subtle body is energy, while the physical body is mass. The psyche or mind plane corresponds to and interacts with the body plane, and the belief holds that the body and the mind mutually affect each other.The subtle body consists of nadi (energy channels) connected by nodes of psychic energy called chakra.The belief grew into extensive elaboration, with some suggesting 88,000 chakras throughout the subtle body. The number of major chakras varied between various traditions, but they typically ranged between four and seven.

The important chakras are stated in Hindu and Buddhist texts to be arranged in a column along the spinal cord, from its base to the top of the head, connected by vertical channels. The tantric traditions sought to master them, awaken and energize them through various breathing exercises or with assistance of a teacher. These chakras were also symbolically mapped to specific human physiological capacity, seed syllables (bija), sounds, subtle elements (tanmatra), in some cases deities, colors and other motifs.

Belief in the chakra system of Hinduism and Buddhism differs from the historic Chinese system of meridians in acupuncture. Unlike the latter, the chakra relates to subtle body, wherein it has a position but no definite nervous node or precise physical connection. The tantric systems envision it as continually present, highly relevant and a means to psychic and emotional energy. It is useful in a type of yogic rituals and meditative discovery of radiant inner energy (prana flows) and mind-body connections. The meditation is aided by extensive symbology, mantras, diagrams, models (deity and mandala). The practitioner proceeds step by step from perceptible models, to increasingly abstract models where deity and external mandala are abandoned, inner self and internal mandalas are awakened.