You might have heard of the Chakra system that denotes metaphysical energy disks within our body, the balance of which holds the key to our general well-being. Yet, there is a lot that you might still not know about chakras.
- For example, who invented chakras?
- How far back in time does the origin of chakras go?
- Moreover, are chakras Hindu or are chakras Buddhist?
- What religion does chakra come from?
If you have such questions in your mind, you have come to the right page.
What Is The Origin Of The Chakra System?
A lot of scholars believe that chakras originated somewhere between 1500 and 500 BC in India, at least that is what the early scriptures in the Vedas show them. However, you might be surprised to know that chakras originated way before this era.
Is that even possible if there is no text to prove it?
Well, yes, because in olden times, any kind of wisdom, be it chakras or something else, was passed down to the next generation by word of mouth, from teachers to disciples, from parents to children, and so on.
How do we know this?
Now, this information can be deemed true because there still exist generations that have such great wisdom about the various types of chakras that no one can even find in the ancient books.
The word "chakra" means wheel, which originally is spelled "cakra". The oldest reference of these wheels is that of the chariot wheels of cakravartins, hailed as the earliest rulers of the universe.
Can you now imagine how old chakras are?
The mind boggles to even think of it, doesn't it? But now, let us move on to what we know or how the scholars interpret the origin of the various kinds of chakra systems.
Read on to find out more.
Origin Of The 7 Chakra System
Despite the lack of clarity on the absolute origin of the chakra system, we have got to admit that the chakra system that has become the most popular in the western world, namely, the 7-chakra system, has a written base.
Here, I must mention the researcher Sir John Woodroffe, whose early works on the chakra system included the book "The Serpent Power".
This book has sort of been the holy grail of the western chakra philosophy.
But where did Sir Woodroffe fetch the information that he laid out in his book?
To understand this, we must look back again to the authors of ancient India.
A 16th-century book written by an Indian sage Swami Purananda formed the primary basis of Sir Woodroffe's work. The book, called "Shri-Tattva-Cintamini", included a chapter known as Sat-Cakra-Nirupana.
Here, he mentioned in detail the six centers or chakras, including how to realize the power of each chakra, how to stimulate them, and how to attain the state that gives rise to kundalini (the serpent Goddess).
But wait, there is more to the story.
Sir Woodroffe's work was not the only one that interpreted the old Indian texts to bring the seven-chakra system to the Western world, as we know it today. Significant contributions were made by British-American theosophical author Alice Bailey.
Bailey based her work on chakras from her communications with Tibetan master Djwhal Khul, among other sources. All of these sources have given rise to the 7-chakra system that is hailed by the theological and esoteric communities of the world.
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How Many Chakra Systems Are There In The Original Tradition?
Okay, so the 7-chakra system seems to be the most popular one. Does that mean other chakra systems may even be better than this?
Well, yes, there are several other chakra systems, and no, there is no way to say whether one system is better than the others.
In the original tradition itself, many chakra systems arose from different branches of tantrism. For instance, in traditional Buddhism, monks often practice the 5-chakra system.
And of course, you don't even have to segregate the chakra systems by religion. From Hindu sources themselves, many different systems, such as the six-chakra system, the nine-chakra system, the twenty-one-chakra system, and more have evolved.
So, why are there so many different chakra systems? Are there truly so many chakras within our bodies?
The answer is not that simple, but let me try to get it as plainly as possible to you.
Chakra systems are different because chakras are not physical objects. They are more to do with feelings and emotions that exist on a different plane within your physical being.
Chakras cannot be seen; they can only be felt as fluid sources of energy. Naturally, the number of chakras that one person deals with will be based on how they evaluate their feelings.
Having said that, three chakras are common in all kinds of chakra systems. One is the crown chakra, or above the head (again, we are just talking about metaphysical positions). The second one is the heart chakra, which, as you may have guessed, governs the heart area. The third chakra is the sacral chakra, which is located below the navel and governs a person's sexual emotions.
These three chakras are common in all systems because they govern the main emotions a person experiences. The rest of the chakras vary from person to person and even depend on their theosophical ideology.
If you are still confused, let me give you an example.
You and your sibling have most things in common, including your families. And yet, you do not feel the same way about everything. Do you? You are probably a little more emotional about your materialistic possessions, while your sibling couldn't care less if they lost their smartphone.
Because you possess different emotions, the chakras that govern your well-being are also different, except, of course, for the three core chakras, as mentioned earlier.
The bottom line, people are different, and hence, so many different chakra systems exist to accommodate every feeling.
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Origin of the 114-Chakra System
So, now you may be wondering, has anyone ever defined the actual number of chakras present within our beings? Some say 5, some say 7, some say 21, but what is that total number?
Not so long ago, there was no clear answer to this question, but thanks to recent research by Dr. Amit Ray, now we know that there is a total of 114 chakra systems that flow as energy sources through a human being.
Dr. Amit Ray, who studied the significance of the chakra systems with a scientific bent of mind, dug deeper into the age-old tantric philosophies, read through hand-me-down ideas and wisdom that are centuries old, and then came up with the notion of the 114-chakra system.
He named all of the chakras in 2018 and thanks to his research, we now know that there are chakras that govern every aspect of our body, including the gut, the neurons, the hormones, and more.
But how do these chakras heal our body and soul? Do 114 chakras work all at once?
According to Dr. Ray's research, our body comprises 72,000 nadis, which are nothing but roads for the fluid energy to travel. This energy gets purified when it reaches one of the 114 chakras. Depending on the state of a person's body and mind, some chakras remain active while others are dormant.
Do these 114 chakras have anything in common with the familiar 7-chakra system?
Of course, they do! Dr. Ray says that we all have 7 major chakras, of which are the famous three (heart, crown, and navel) that we discussed earlier.
Other than these, there are 21 minor chakras and also 86 micro chakras. While the major chakras fall along the line of our spine, the minor and micro chakras and distributed throughout the rest of our body, each acting as a life energy purification center and contributing to the balance of our physical and spiritual selves. This balance ensures we heal from illnesses and pain and can connect with our inner consciousness.
All said and done, the western world is still heavily influenced by the 7-chakra system. This system has been made more prominent in the last few decades by Christopher Hills, author of the book "Nuclear Evolution".
In his works, he paved the way for a new thought process when he linked the seven chakras with the seven colors of the rainbow. He also evaluated the various chakras based on the different personality types of people.
While all of these evaluations were not derived from the traditional sources of the chakra systems, namely Hindu and Buddhist scriptures, they were more discernible to the common man of the western world. Such interpretations made chakras more of a household name than the original Vedic scripts. Needless to say, he made chakras look easy.
So, what does the future hold for this age-old tantric concept?
Granted that some people will still want to look out for more scientific research and evidence of the value of the chakras. However, as more and more people understand the subtle power of the healing energies that chakras provide, the benefits of using a chakra system (any chakra system) will surface more quickly as a path towards attaining both physical and emotional well-being.
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1. Root Chakra Healing Guide | Muladhara.
2. Sacral Chakra Healing Guide | Svadhisthana.
3. Solar Plexus Chakra Healing Guide | Manipura.
4. Heart Chakra Healing Guide | Anahata.
5. Throat Chakra Healing Guide | Vishuddha.
6. Third Eye Chakra Healing Guide | Ajna.
7. Crown Chakra Healing Guide | Sahasrara.