The Centers, Lotuses, Knots, or Chakras
An adequate knowledge of the form, position, color and working of the subtle centers has, so far, been obtained solely by inward sight as practiced by yogis. This need not, however, be the only way to attain this knowledge. These centers or knots are not abstractions but actual subtle centers of energy which it may well be possible to detect by some kind of physical apparatus. Indeed, some such experiments have been begun recently.
The subtle centers have forms and colors which can be seen by the yogi in his introspective mental investigation. These forms and colors are real and produce most definite results, for the reality of which there is physical evidence. But it is only when the coiled energy rises that the centers or lotuses are lit up and their colors clearly perceived. Alone those who have attained to supra-human sight can visualize all the colors and letters found in all the centers, but it is possible by concentration for others to perceive them in any one particular center.
As we have already seen in "the method of yoga", the diagrams representing the centers are the maps of the regions which the yogi visits in his inner journey. Each detail of the diagrams is the starting point of a particular mode of experience. The shapes attributed to them are, however, only analogical and must be understood as such. It is only when the seeker concentrates his mental faculties inwards that he can realize the reality and great accuracy of the diagrams.
It should be noted that, according to the modes of realization, the descriptions of all the centers are given in slightly varying form in the different tantras; these differences are, however, only superficial.
(1) THE ROOT CENTER (Muladhara Chakra)
The first center, or lotus, or chakra, lies above the anus below the root of the sex organs.
"This is the Root lotus of which the yoni is the heart. The center is most resplendent, with four petals bearing the four characters V, Sh(palatal), Sh(cerebral), S." (Shiva Samhita 5, 83.)
In it opens the end of the central artery, Sushumna. Yellow in color, this center has four red petals which are the four aspects of the vital breath, prana shakti. These four petals are linked with the Coiled Energy, Kundalini, lying at the base of the spinal chord. When the Coiled Energy dissolves, the four petals vanish. The characters on the four petals are golden and represent the aspects of the Coiled Energy lying in the state of sleep. In the center of the Root lotus is the Upholding Seed (Dhara-bija) i.e. the magic character "LANG", carried on the elephant Airavata.
The Root center is connected with the square, the element Earth, the color yellow, the sense of smell, the feet (organ of action) and the phenomenon of accumulation. By meditating on it the achievements of speech, poetry, skill and organization are obtained. Its deity is the "Lord of Vastness", Brahma the Creator, riding on the swan.
"This center is called kula (the womb) and shines like gold; there is found the Self-born symbol (Svayambhu linga). There is found the Realized Being (Siddha) named the Double-egged (Dviranda). The presiding deity of this center is Dakini (the Witch). In the middle of the lotus is the yoni, and in it lies the Coiled Energy. Above it, the shining Seed of Lust (Kama-bija) wanders like a flame. The wise man who ever meditates on this Root-center realizes the 'Darduri' (the frog), the Attainment which enables one to wander through space." (Shiva Samhita 5, 84-86.)
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