The concept is found in the early traditions of Hinduism. In Buddhism , especially in Theravada, the Pali noun cakka connotes "wheel". The Buddha spoke of freedom from cycles in and of themselves, whether karmic, reincarnative, liberative, cognitive or emotional.
In Jainism , the term chakra also means "wheel" and appears in various contexts in its ancient literature.
The term chakra appears to first emerge within the Hindu Vedas, though not precisely in the sense of psychic energy centers, rather as chakravartin or the king who "turns the wheel of his empire" in all directions from a center, representing his influence and power. The hymn Literally, it means "she who is bent, coiled", representing both a minor goddess and one of many embedded enigmas and esoteric riddles within the Rigveda.
Some scholars, such as David Gordon White and Georg Feuerstein, interpret this might be related to kundalini shakti, and an overt overature to the terms of esotericism that would later emerge in Post-Aryan Bramhanism. In contrast to White, according to Georg Feuerstein , early Upanishads of Hinduism do mention cakra in the sense of "psychospiritual vortices", along with other terms found in tantra: prana or vayu life energy along with nadi energy carrying arteries. The chakra in the sense of four or more vital energy centers appear in the medieval era Hindu and Buddhist texts.
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Shining, she holds the noose made of the energy of will, the hook which is energy of knowledge, the bow and arrows made of energy of action. Split into support and supported, divided into eight, bearer of weapons, arising from the chakra with eight points, she has the ninefold chakra as a throne.
Chakra is a part of the esoteric medieval era theories about physiology and psychic centers that emerged across Indian traditions. The psyche or mind plane corresponds to and interacts with the body plane, and the theory posits that the body and the mind mutually affect each other. 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.
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.
The chakra theories of Hinduism and Buddhism differs from the historic Chinese system of meridians in acupuncture. 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 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. These ideas are not unique to Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
Similar and overlapping concepts emerged in other cultures in the East and the West, and these are variously called by other names such as subtle body, spirit body , esoteric anatomy, sidereal body and etheric body. Ideas and practices involving so-called 'subtle bodies' have existed for many centuries in many parts of the world.
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Virtually all human cultures known to us have some kind of concept of mind, spirit or soul as distinct from the physical body, if only to explain experiences such as sleep and dreaming. An important subset of subtle-body practices, found particularly in Indian and Tibetan Tantric traditions, and in similar Chinese practices, involves the idea of an internal 'subtle physiology' of the body or rather of the body-mind complex made up of channels through which substances of some kind flow, and points of intersection at which these channels come together.
In the Indian tradition the channels are known as nadi and the points of intersection as cakra. Chakra and related theories have been important to the esoteric traditions, but they are not directly related to mainstream yoga. The classical eastern traditions, particularly those that developed in India during the 1st millennium AD, primarily describe nadi and cakra in a "subtle body" context. In the nadi and cakra flow the prana breath, life energy.
Some of this concept states this subtle body is what withdraws within, when one sleeps. All of it is believed to be reachable, awake-able and important for an individual's body-mind health, and how one relates to other people in one's life.
Different esoteric traditions in Hinduism mention numerous numbers and arrangements chakras, of which a classical system of seven is most prevalent.
These texts teach many different Chakra theories.
The Chakra methodology is extensively developed in the goddess tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism. It is an important concept along with yantras, mandalas and kundalini yoga in its practice. Chakra in Shakta tantrism means circle, an "energy center" within, as well as being a term for group rituals such as in chakra-puja worship within a circle which may or may not involve tantra practice.
Beyond its original Shakta milieu, various sub-traditions within the Shaiva and Vaishnava schools of Hinduism also developed texts and practices on Nadi and Chakra systems. Modern Hindu groups including the Bihar School of Yoga and the Self Realization Fellowship utilize a technique of circular energy that works based on the chakras known as kriya yoga.
Both schools claim the technique is taught in every age by an avatar of god known as Babaji. The historicity of its techniques in India prior to the early twentieth century are not well established. It believed by its practitioners to activate the chakras and stimulate faster spiritual development. The esoteric traditions in Buddhism generally teach four chakras. A system of five chakras is common among the Mother class of Tantras and these five chakras along with their correspondences are: .
Chakras clearly play a key role in Tibetan Buddhism , and are considered to be the pivotal providence of Tantric thinking.
And, the precise use of the chakras across the gamut of tantric sadhanas gives little space to doubt the primary efficacy of Tibetan Buddhism as distinct religious agency, that being that precise revelation that, without Tantra there would be no Chakras, but more importantly, without Chakras, there is no Tibetan Buddhism. The highest practices in Tibetan Buddhism point to the ability to bring the subtle pranas of an entity into alignment with the central channel, and to thus penetrate the realisation of the ultimate unity, namely, the "organic harmony" of one's individual consciousness of Wisdom with the co-attainment of All-embracing Love, thus synthesizing a direct cognition of absolute Buddhahood.
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According to Geoffrey Samuel, the buddhist esoteric systems developed cakra and nadi as "central to their soteriological process". Chakras, according to the Bon tradition, enable the gestalt of experience, with each of the five major chakras, being psychologically linked with the five experiential qualities of unenlightened consciousness, the six realms of woe.
The tsa lung practice embodied in the Trul khor lineage, unbaffles the primary channels, thus activating and circulating liberating prana. Yoga awakens the deep mind, thus bringing forth positive attributes, inherent gestalts, and virtuous qualities. In a computer analogy, the screen of one's consciousness is slated and an attribute-bearing file is called up that contains necessary positive or negative, supportive qualities.
Tantric practice is said to eventually transform all experience into clear light.
The practice aims to liberate from all negative conditioning, and the deep cognitive salvation of freedom from control and unity of perception and cognition. Throughout its cycle it enters various dantian elixir fields which act as furnaces, where the types of energy in the body jing, qi and shen are progressively refined. The number of dantian varies depending on the system; the navel dantian is the most well-known, but there is usually a dantian located at the heart and between the eyebrows.
Traditional spirituality in the Malay Archipelago borrows heavily from Hindu-Buddhist concepts. In Malay and Indonesian metaphysical theory, the chakras' energy rotates outwards along diagonal lines.
Defensive energy emits outwards from the centre line, while offensive energy moves inwards from the sides of the body. This can be applied to energy-healing , meditation, or martial arts. Silat practitioners aim to harmonise their movements with these chakras, thereby increasing the power and effectiveness of attacks and movements. The more common and most studied chakra system incorporates six major chakras along with a seventh center generally not regarded as a chakra.
These points are arranged vertically along the axial channel sushumna nadi in Hindu texts, Avadhuti in some Buddhist texts. The Chakras are traditionally considered meditation aids. The yogi progresses from lower chakras to the highest chakra blossoming in the crown of the head, internalizing the journey of spiritual ascent. In Hindu texts she is known as Kundalini , while in Buddhist texts she is called Candali or Tummo Tibetan: gtum mo , "fierce one".
Below are the common new age description of these six chakras and the seventh point known as sahasrara. This new age version incorporates the Newtonian colors that were unknown when these systems were created. In esoteric Buddhism, it is called Sambhoga and is generally considered to be the petal lotus of "Enjoyment" corresponding to the third state of Four Noble Truths. In esoteric Buddhism, this Chakra is called Dharma and is generally considered to be the petal lotus of "Essential nature" and corresponding to the second state of Four Noble Truths.
In esoteric Buddhism, it is called Nirmana, the petal lotus of "Creation" and corresponding to the first state of Four Noble Truths. The seed syllable is Lam for the earth element pronounced lum ,. All sounds, words and mantras in their dormant form rest in the muladhara chakra, where Ganesha resides,  while the Shakti is Dakini.
Many systems include myriad minor chakras throughout the body. Talu , bindu , manas , and dvadashanta chakra are close to and associated with Ajna chakra. Situated just to the left of Anahata chakra where the heart is situated anatomically is Hridaya chakra.
Lalance chakra is situated at the base of the mouth and is associated with Vishuddha chakra. Actually there are chakras out of which are present inside the body.
Leadbeater in his book The Chakras. A separate contemplative movement within the Eastern Orthodox Church is Hesychasm , a form of Christian meditation. Comparisons have been made between the Hesychastic centres of prayer and the position of the chakras. However, there is no talk about these centres as having any sort of metaphysical existence.
Far more than in any of the cases discussed above, the centres are simply places to focus the concentration during prayer. In Anatomy of the Spirit , Caroline Myss describes the function of chakras as follows: "Every thought and experience you've ever had in your life gets filtered through these chakra databases.
Each event is recorded into your cells New Age practices often associate each chakra with a certain colour.
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In various traditions, chakras are associated with multiple physiological functions, an aspect of consciousness , a classical element , and other distinguishing characteristics. They are visualised as lotuses or flowers with a different number of petals in every chakra. The chakras are thought to vitalise the physical body and to be associated with interactions of a physical, emotional and mental nature. They are considered loci of life energy or prana which New Age belief equates with shakti , qi in Chinese, ki in Japanese, koach-ha-guf  in Hebrew, bios in Greek, and aether in both Greek and English , which is thought to flow among them along pathways called nadi.
The function of the chakras is to spin and draw in this energy to keep the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health of the body in balance.
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Rudolf Steiner considered the chakra system to be dynamic and evolving. He suggested that this system has become different for modern people than it was in ancient times and that it will, in turn, be radically different in future times. He gave suggestions on how to develop the chakras through disciplining thoughts, feelings, and will.
According to Florin Lowndes, a "spiritual student" can further develop and deepen or elevate thinking consciousness when taking the step from the "ancient path" of schooling to the "new path" represented by Steiner's The Philosophy of Freedom.
Chakras and their importance are posited to reside in the psyche. However, there are those who believe that chakras have a physical manifestation as well. Leadbeater associated the Ajna chakra with the pineal gland ,  which is a part of the endocrine system. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.