We probably all have a sense of what a ‘Chakra’ is – this ancient concept comes from early Hinduism and refers to different energetic points in the body. They are often used as a focal point for meditative practice, to connect to different types of energy that reside in each person. In some traditions, there are 5, in others there are 7. Each have different colours, elements, characteristics, and spiritual practices associated with them.
Interestingly, Sri Aurobindo also writes extensively about the chakras, and identifies 7. Here, we dive a bit deeper into Sri Aurobindo’s exploration of the chakras, as they help us gain self-awareness of the different parts of our being.
The Distribution of the Chakras in the Integral Yoga
In Satprem’s “Sri Aurobindo: The Adventure of Consciousness,” Page 51, Satprem explains the Chakras as follows:
“We have all experienced, at least once in our lives, vibrations radiating at different levels of our being and with different densities; a great revelatory vibration, for example, when a veil seems to be suddenly rent and we are shown a whole vision of truth, without words, without our even knowing exactly what the revelation consists of; something simply vibrates, which makes the world inexplicably wider, lighter, and clearer; or heavier vibrations of anger or fear, vibrations of desire, vibrations of sympathy. Thus, there is in us an entire gamut of vibratory nodules or centres of consciousness, each specialised in a specific type of vibration.”
Chakras are these epicentres of consciousness in our body. There are 7 main chakras (although in total there are over a hundred different chakra centres in the body) and these 7 main centres are distributed into 4 zones, according to Sri Aurobindo. Within each of these zones, different chakras reside:
- The Superconscient
- The Mind
- The Vital
- The Physical and Subconscient
The Superconscient consists of 1 center:
Sahasrara Chakra or The Thousand-Petalled Lotus. It is located on the top of the head. It controls our thinking mind and communicates with higher realms. It connects us to the Divine. Sri Aurobindo describes it as having a blue colour with a golden light around.
The Mind consists of 2 centers:
Ajna Chakra or The Third Eye Chakra. It is located between the eyebrows. It controls the will and dynamism of our mental activity. It represents knowledge and awareness. It is white.
Vishuddhi Chakra or Throat Chakra. It is located at throat level. It controls all form of mental expression. It represents communication and the externalising mind. It is grey.
The Vital consists of 3 centers:
Anahata Chakra or The Heart Chakra. It is located in the chest region. It controls our emotional being, the feelings of love and hatred. According to Sri Aurobindo, the Psychic being is behind it. It is golden-pink.
Manipura Chakra or The Navel Chakra. It is located in the belly, at the navel centre. It controls our impulses for ambition, possession and conquest as well as joy and generosity. It also is the centre of the digestive fire in our belly. Its colour is violet.
Swadhisthana Chakra or Sacral Chakra. It is located between the navel and the genitals. It controls our creative expression as well as our sexual impulses. But it also controls our lowest vibrations of jealousy, envy and greed. Sri Aurobindo says it is a ‘deep purple-red’.
The Physical and the Subconscient consists of 1 center:
Muladhara Chakra or Root Chakra. This chakra is located at the base of the spine. It controls our physical being. It can affect our enthusiasm in life, or our inertia. Its colour is red.
Many articles across the internet will give you a variety of tips on how to unblock the chakras. This would allow for your Kundalini, the energy that rests coiled like a serpent at the base of your spine, to have ‘free passage’ through your 7 chakras. This understanding comes from the Tantric tradition, in which unification with the Divine can be attained by bringing this energy up through the body. While certainly there are benefits to taking away contractions and constrictions around the chakras, the Integral Yoga has a different approach. Sri Aurobindo advises not to focus on the chakras but instead, put all energy into opening the being to the highest consciousness:
“There is [in the Integral Yoga] no willed opening of the chakras, they open of themselves by the descent of the Force. In the Tantric discipline they open from down upwards, the Muladhara first—in our Yoga, they open from up downward. But the ascent of the force from the Muladhara does take place.” (CWSA Vol 29, 460).
Sri Aurobindo seeks unification with the Divine by bringing the universal energy downwards, through the highest chakra, opening and purifying the lower chakras on the way down. This approach requires a life of dedication to the Integral Yoga. According to Sri Aurobindo, only those doing sadhana (a spiritual path) can hope to open their chakras:
“One can speak of the chakras only in reference to Yoga. In ordinary people the chakras are not open, it is only when they do sadhana that they open. For the chakras are the centres of the inner consciousness and belong organically to the subtle body. So much as is active in ordinary people is very little—for in them it is the outer consciousness that is active.” (CWSA Vol 28, 231)
Now that you have a basic understanding on the centres of consciousness of the body, you can read Satprem’s book “Sri Aurobindo, or The Adventure of Consciousness” by downloading this free pdf. Through the book, Satprem takes us on a methodical exploration of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga. A must-read for anybody interested in Sri Aurobindo and The Integral Yoga.