Les chakras de C. W. Leadbeater:

Les chakras de C. W. Leadbeater:

Théosophie: Les chakras de C. W. Leadbeater::

Un monogramme

PAR

C. W.
Leadbeater

avec dix
illustrations en couleur

Institut Théosophique Anand Gholap

2009

PREFACE A LA PREMIERE EDITION

QUAND un homme commence à développer ses sens, afin de pouvoir voir un
un peu plus que tout le monde voit, un monde nouveau et le plus fascinant s'ouvre avant
lui, et les chakras sont parmi les premiers objets de ce monde à attirer son
attention. Ses semblables se présentent sous un nouvel aspect; il perçoit
beaucoup à leur égard qui était auparavant caché à ses yeux, et il est
donc capable de comprendre, d’apprécier et (si nécessaire) de les aider
beaucoup mieux qu'il ne le pouvait avant. Leurs pensées et leurs sentiments sont exprimés
clairement devant ses yeux en couleur et en forme; le stade de leur développement, le
condition de leur santé deviennent des faits évidents au lieu de simples questions de
inférence. La coloration brillante et le mouvement rapide et incessant de la
les chakras les mettent immédiatement sous son observation, et il veut naturellement
savoir ce qu'ils sont et ce qu'ils veulent dire. L’objet de ce livre est de fournir
une réponse à ces questions et à donner à ceux qui n’ont pas encore fait de recherche
essayer de déployer leurs facultés dormantes une idée d'au moins celui-ci petit
section de ce qui est vu par leurs frères plus chanceux.

Afin de dissiper les idées fausses préliminaires inévitables,
qu'il soit bien compris qu'il n'y a rien de fantaisiste ou de non naturel
sur le spectacle qui permet à certains hommes de percevoir plus que d’autres. Il est
simplement une extension des facultés avec laquelle nous sommes tous familiers, et d’acquérir
c'est se rendre sensible aux vibrations plus rapides que celles auxquelles notre
les sens physiques sont normalement formés pour réagir. Ces facultés viendront à
tout le monde en cours d’évolution, mais certains d’entre nous ont pris une peine particulière
de les développer maintenant en avance sur le reste, au prix de nombreuses années de
travail que la plupart des gens voudraient entreprendre.

Je sais qu'il y a encore beaucoup d'hommes dans le monde qui sont tellement
loin derrière le temps de nier l’existence de tels pouvoirs, tout comme il en existe
toujours les villageois qui n'ont jamais vu un train de chemin de fer. Je n'ai ni le temps ni
espace pour discuter avec une ignorance aussi invincible; Je ne peux que renvoyer des enquêteurs à mes
livre sur Clairvoyance,
ou à des partitions de livres d'autres auteurs sur le même sujet. L'affaire entière a
été prouvé des centaines de fois, et personne qui est capable de peser la valeur
des preuves ne peut plus être mis en doute.

On a beaucoup écrit sur les chakras, mais c’est surtout dans
Sanscrit ou dans certaines des langues vernaculaires indiennes. Ce n’est que tout récemment que
n'importe quel compte d'eux est apparu en anglais. Je les ai moi-même mentionnés dans le
Vie intérieure
vers 1910, et depuis lors, le magnifique travail de Sir John Woodroffe, The Serpent
Puissance
a été publié et certains des autres livres indiens ont été traduits. le
des dessins symboliques d’eux utilisés par les yogis indiens ont été reproduits
dans The Serpent Power, mais pour autant que je sache, les illustrations
que je donne dans ce livre sont la première tentative de les représenter comme ils
apparaissent réellement à ceux qui peuvent les voir. En effet, c’est principalement pour mettre
devant le public cette belle série de dessins de mon ami le révérend Edward
Warner que j'écris ce livre et que je souhaite lui exprimer ma profonde dette
pour tout le temps et la peine qu'il leur a consacrés. Je dois aussi remercier
mon collaborateur infatigable, le professeur Ernest Wood, pour la collection et
la compilation de toutes les informations précieuses quant aux vues indiennes sur notre sujet
qui est contenu dans le chapitre V.

Étant très occupé par d'autres travaux, c'était mon intention
simplement pour recueillir et réimprimer en tant que typographie d'accompagnement aux illustrations
les différents articles que j'avais écrits il y a longtemps sur le sujet; mais comme je
regardé sur eux certaines questions se sont suggérées et un peu
L’enquête m’a mis en possession de faits supplémentaires que j’ai dûment
incorporé. Un point intéressant est que le vitalule-globule et le
Dr. Annie Besant a observé les bagues kundalini et cataloguées comme
éléments hyper-méta-proto dès 1895, bien que nous n’ayons pas suivi
assez loin pour découvrir leur relation les uns avec les autres et l'importance
partie qu'ils jouent dans l'économie de la vie humaine.

C. W. L.

LA CHAKRA DE LA COURONNE

CONTENU

PRÉFACE

vii

CHAPITRE I

LES CENTRES DE FORCE

Le sens de la parole.
Explications Préliminaires. Le double éthérique. Les centres. Les formes du
Tourbillons. Les illustrations. Le chakra racine. Le chakra de la rate. Le nombril
Chakra. Le chakra du coeur. Le chakra de la gorge. Le chakra des sourcils. Le chakra de la couronne.
Autres comptes des centres ………. 1

CHAPITRE II

LES FORCES

La primaire ou la vie
Obliger. Le serpent-feu. Les trois canaux spinaux. Le mariage des forces.
Le système sympathique. Les centres dans la colonne vertébrale. Vitalité. La vitalité
Globule. La fourniture de globules. Forces psychiques ……. 23

CHAPITRE III

L'ABSORPTION DE
VITALITÉ

Le globule. le
Rayon violet-bleu. Le rayon jaune: Le rayon vert. Le rayon de rose. L'orange rouge
Rayon. Les cinq Prana Vayus. Vitalité et Santé. Le destin des atomes vides.
Vitalité et Magnétisme ……… 53

CHAPITRE IV

LE DÉVELOPPEMENT DE LA
CHAKRAS

Les fonctions du
Centres éveillés. Les centres astraux. Sens Astral. L'excitation de la Kundalini.
L'éveil des chakras éthériques. Clairvoyance occasionnelle. Le danger de
Éveil prématuré. Le réveil spontané de Kundalini. Personnel
Expérience. Le Web éthérique. Les effets de l'alcool et des drogues. L'effet de
Le tabac. L'ouverture des portes ……. 71

CHAPITRE V

LE LAYA YOGA

Les livres hindous. le
Liste indienne des chakras. Les figures des chakras. Le chakra du coeur. Les pétales
et lettres. Les mandalas Les Yantras Les animaux. Les divinités Le corps
Méditation. Les noeuds. Le lotus secondaire du coeur. Effets de la méditation dans le
Cœur. Kundalini. L'éveil de la Kundalini. L'ascension de Kundalini. Le but
de Kundalini. Conclusion …….. 95

LISTE DE
ILLUSTRATIONS

PLAQUES

JE.

II.

III.

IV

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

La Couronne
Chakra.

La racine
Chakra.

Le spleen
Chakra.

Le nombril
Chakra.

Le cœur
Chakra.

La gorge
Chakra.

Le front
Chakra.

Les chakras
selon Gichtel

Les ruisseaux
de vitalité

Les chakras
et le système nerveux

Frontispice

Entre
Pages 16 et 17

Orienté vers
Page 40

Les figures

1.

2

3

4

5

6

7.

8

9

Les chakras

Représentations du chakra de la couronne

L'arbre
Épanchements

La colonne vertébrale
Canaux

Les formes de
les forces

Le combiné
Forme des forces

L'ultime
Atome Physique

le
Corps hypophysaire et glande pinéale

hindou
Diagramme du chakra du coeur

1

17

29

33

36

38

43

74

99

LES TABLES

JE.

II.

III.

IV

V.

VI.

VII.

Les chakras

Les chakras
et les plexus

Prana et
les principes

Les cinq
Prana Vayus

Couleurs de
Pétales de lotus

Le sanscrit
Alphabet

Le symbolique
Formes des éléments

7

41

60

61

97

103

106

CHAPITRE I

LA FORCE – CENTRES

LE SENS DE LA PAROLE

Le mot chakra est sanskrit, et signifie une roue. Il est
également utilisé dans divers sens subsidiaires, dérivés et symboliques, tels quels
son équivalent anglais; comme on pourrait parler de la roue du destin, il en va de même pour
Les bouddhistes parlent de la roue de la vie et de la mort; et il décrit ce premier grand
sermon dans lequel le Seigneur Bouddha a proposé sa doctrine en tant que
Dhammachakkappavattana Sutta (chakka étant l’équivalent en pali du
le chakra sanskrit) que le professeur Rhys Davids traduit poétiquement en
«De faire rouler la roue royale du char d'un empire universel de vérité et
droiture". C’est exactement l’esprit du sens que l’expression
transmet au dévot bouddhiste, bien que la traduction littérale du nu
mots est «le tournant de la roue de la loi». L'utilisation spéciale du mot
chakra avec lequel nous sommes actuellement concernés est son application à une série
des tourbillons en forme de roue qui existent à la surface du double éthérique de l'homme.

PRÉLIMINAIRE
EXPLICATIONS

Comme ce crochet pourrait probablement tomber entre les mains de certains
pas familier avec la terminologie théosophique, il peut être bon d’insérer ici quelques
mots d'explication préliminaire.

Dans une conversation superficielle ordinaire, un homme parfois
mentionne son âme – ce qui implique que le corps à travers lequel il parle est le réel
l'homme, et que cette chose appelée l'âme est une possession ou un apanage de cette
corps – une sorte de ballon captif flottant sur lui, et dans une sorte de vague
manière attachée à lui. C’est une déclaration vague, inexacte et trompeuse; la
l'exact opposé est la vérité. L'homme est une âme et possède un corps – plusieurs
corps en fait; pour d'ailleurs le véhicule visible au moyen duquel il transige
ses affaires avec son monde inférieur, il a d'autres qui ne sont pas visibles à
vue ordinaire, au moyen de laquelle il traite avec les mondes émotionnel et mental.
Avec ceux, cependant, nous ne sommes pas concernés pour le moment.

Au cours du siècle dernier, d’énormes progrès ont été accomplis
fait dans notre connaissance des moindres détails du corps physique; étudiants de
la médecine sont maintenant au courant de sa complexité ahurissante, et ont au moins un
idée générale de la façon dont fonctionne sa machinerie étonnamment complexe.

LA DOUBLE ÉTHIQUE

Naturellement, cependant, ils ont dû limiter leur attention
à la partie du corps suffisamment dense pour être visible à l'oeil, et
la plupart d’entre eux ignorent probablement l’existence de ce type de matière, toujours
physique bien qu'invisible, auquel on donne le nom d'éthérique dans la théosophie.
Cette partie invisible du corps physique est d’une grande importance pour nous, car c’est
le véhicule à travers lequel coulent les flots de vitalité qui maintiennent le corps
vivant, et sans cela comme un pont pour transmettre des ondulations de pensée et de sentiment
de la matière physique plus dense astrale à visible, l'égo
ne pouvait pas utiliser les cellules de son cerveau. Il est clairement visible pour le
clairvoyant comme une masse de brouillard faiblement lumineux violet-gris, interpénétrant le
partie plus dense du corps, et s'étendant très légèrement au-delà.

La vie du corps physique est celle d’un changement perpétuel, et
pour qu’il vive, il doit être alimenté en permanence par trois
sources distinctes. Il doit avoir de la nourriture pour sa digestion, de l'air pour sa respiration,
et la vitalité sous trois formes pour son absorption. Cette vitalité est essentiellement un
force, mais quand nous sommes vêtus de matière, il nous semble qu’il s’agit d’un acte hautement
élément chimique raffiné. Il existe sur tous les avions, mais notre travail pour le
Le moment est de considérer sa manifestation dans le monde physique.

Pour comprendre cela, nous devons savoir quelque chose du
constitution et arrangement de cette partie éthérique de notre corps. j'ai écrit
sur ce sujet il y a de nombreuses années dans divers volumes, et le colonel A. E. Powell a
récemment rassemblé toutes les informations publiées jusqu'ici
et l'a publié sous une forme commode dans un livre intitulé The Etheric Double.

Les centres

Les chakras ou centres de force sont des points de connexion au
quelle énergie circule d'un véhicule ou du corps d'un homme à un autre. N'importe qui qui
possède un léger degré de clairvoyance peut facilement les voir dans l'éthérique
double, où ils se montrent comme des dépressions en forme de soucoupe ou des vortex dans son
surface. Lorsqu'ils sont assez peu développés, ils apparaissent sous forme de petits cercles d'environ deux pouces
de diamètre, luisant faiblement chez l'homme ordinaire; mais quand réveillé et vivifié
ils sont vus comme des tourbillons flamboyants et coruscasants, dont la taille a beaucoup augmenté, et
ressemblant à des soleils miniatures. On en parle parfois comme correspondant à peu près à
à certains organes physiques; en réalité, ils se montrent à la surface de
le double éthérique, qui dépasse légèrement du contour du dense
corps. Si nous nous imaginons regarder droit dans la cloche d'un
fleur du type convolvulus, nous aurons une idée de l'aspect général
d'un chakra. La tige de la fleur dans chaque jaillit d'un point dans la colonne vertébrale,
donc une autre vue pourrait montrer la colonne vertébrale comme une tige centrale (voir planche VIII), de
dont les fleurs jaillissent à intervalles, montrant l'ouverture de leurs cloches à
la surface du corps éthérique.

Les sept centres qui nous intéressent actuellement sont:
indiqué dans l'illustration ci-jointe (Fig. 1). Le tableau I donne leurs
Noms anglais et sanscrit.

Toutes ces roues sont en rotation perpétuelle et dans le moyeu
ou la bouche ouverte de chacun une force du monde supérieur coule toujours un
manifestation du flux de vie issu du deuxième aspect du solaire
Logos – que nous appelons la force primaire. Cette force est sept fois dans sa nature,
et toutes ses formes fonctionnent dans chacun de ces centres, bien que l’un d’entre eux
cas prédomine généralement sur les autres. Sans cet appel d'énergie, le
corps physique ne pourrait pas exister. Par conséquent, les centres fonctionnent dans tous les
l'un, bien que chez la personne non développée, ils sont généralement relativement
mouvement lent, formant juste le vortex nécessaire à la force, et pas plus.
Chez un homme plus évolué, ils peuvent être étincelants et palpiter de lumière vivante.
qu’une quantité énormément plus grande d’énergie les traverse, avec pour résultat
qu'il existe des facultés et des possibilités supplémentaires ouvertes à l'homme.

LA FORME DU
VORTICES

Cette énergie divine qui se déverse dans chaque centre de l'extérieur
se met perpendiculairement à lui-même (c’est-à-dire à la surface du spectre éthérique)
double) forces secondaires en mouvement circulaire ondulatoire, tout comme un barreau magnétique
la poussée dans une bobine d'induction produit un courant d'électricité qui circule
arrondir la bobine perpendiculairement à l’axe ou à la direction de l’aimant. le
la force primaire elle-même, ayant pénétré dans le vortex, en émet à nouveau un rayonnement droit
angles, mais en lignes droites, comme si le centre du vortex était le moyeu
d'une roue, et les radiations de la force primaire ses rayons. Au moyen de
ces rayons la force semble lier ensemble les corps astral et éthérique comme
mais avec des grappins. Le nombre de ces rayons diffère d’un pays à l’autre.
centres de force et détermine le nombre de vagues ou de pétales que chacun d’entre eux
expositions. Pour cette raison, ces centres ont souvent été décrits de manière poétique dans
Livres orientaux ressemblant à des fleurs.

Nom anglais

Nom sanscrit

Situation

Chakra racine ou de base

Muladhara

À la base de la colonne vertébrale

Rate ou splenic chakra

Sur la rate

Nombril ou chakra ombilical

Manipura

Au nombril, au dessus du plexus solaire

Chakra cardiaque ou cardiaque

Anahata

Sur le coeur

Chakra de la gorge ou du larynx

Vishuddha

À l'avant de la gorge

Chakra frontal ou frontal

Ajna

Dans l'espace entre les sourcils

Couronne ou chakra coronal

Sahasrara

Sur le dessus de la tête

TABLEAU 1

Chacune des forces secondaires qui balayent la
la dépression en forme de soucoupe a sa propre longueur d'onde, tout comme la lumière
d'une certaine couleur; mais au lieu de se déplacer en ligne droite comme le fait la lumière, il
se déplace le long d'ondulations relativement grandes de différentes tailles, chacune d'entre elles
multiple des plus petites longueurs d'onde qu'il contient. Le nombre d'ondulations est
déterminé par le nombre de rayons dans la roue, et la force secondaire tisse
lui-même sous et sur les courants de rayonnement de la force primaire, tout comme
la vannerie pourrait être tissée autour des rayons d'une roue de chariot. le
les longueurs d'onde sont infiniesimales, et probablement des milliers d'entre elles sont incluses
dans l'une des ondulations. Alors que les forces se précipitent dans le vortex, ces
oscillations de différentes tailles, se croisant dans cette vannerie
la mode, produire la forme en forme de fleur à laquelle je me suis référé. C'est peut-être
encore plus comme l'apparition de certaines soucoupes ou des vases peu profonds ondulés
verre irisé, comme ceux fabriqués à Venise. Toutes ces ondulations ou pétales
avoir cet effet de pavonine chatoyant, comme la nacre, pourtant chacun d'eux a
généralement sa propre couleur prédominante, comme on le verra dans nos illustrations. Ce
aspect argenté nacré est assimilé dans les œuvres sanscrites à la lueur du clair de lune
sur l'eau.

LES ILLUSTRATIONS

Nos illustrations montrent les chakras vus par
vision clairvoyante chez une personne assez évoluée et intelligente, qui a déjà
les a dans une certaine mesure en état de fonctionnement. Bien sûr, nos couleurs ne sont pas
suffisamment lumineux – aucune couleur terrestre ne pourrait être; mais au moins les dessins
donnera une idée de l'apparence réelle de ces roues de lumière. Ce sera
comprendre de ce qui a déjà été dit que les centres varient en taille et
dans la luminosité chez différentes personnes, et que même dans la même personne, certains d'entre eux
peut être beaucoup plus développé que le reste. Ils sont dessinés à taille réelle, sauf
pour le Sahasrara ou couronne chakra, que nous avons jugé nécessaire de magnifier
afin de montrer sa richesse incroyable de détails. Dans le cas d'un homme qui excelle
grandement dans les qualités qui s'expriment à travers un certain centre, que
centre sera non seulement très agrandi, mais aussi particulièrement rayonnant, jetant
rayons dorés brillants. Un exemple de cela peut être vu dans les propos de Madame Blavatsky
précipitation de l'aura de M. Stainton Moses, qui est maintenant conservé dans un cabinet
dans les archives de la société à Adyar. Il est reproduit, bien que très
imparfaitement, à la page 364 du volume I des vieilles feuilles de journal intime du colonel Olcott.

Ces chakras se divisent naturellement en trois groupes, le plus bas,
le milieu et le plus haut; ils pourraient être appelés respectivement le physiologique,
le personnel et le spirituel.

Les premier et deuxième chakras, n'ayant que peu de rayons ou
pétales, sont principalement concernés par la réception dans le corps de deux forces qui
entrer à ce niveau physique – l'un étant le feu du serpent de la terre
et l'autre la vitalité du soleil. Les centres du groupe intermédiaire,
numérotés 3, 4 et 5, sont engagés avec les forces qui atteignent l’homme par son
personnalité – par le bas astral dans le cas du centre 3, le plus haut
astral au centre 4 et de l’esprit inférieur au centre 5. Tous ces centres semblent
nourrir certains ganglions dans le corps. Les centres 6 et 7 se distinguent des autres,
étant connecté au corps hypophysaire et à la glande pinéale respectivement, et
entrer en action seulement quand un certain développement spirituel a pris
endroit.

J'ai entendu dire que chacun des différents pétales
de ces centres de force représente une qualité morale et que le développement de
cette qualité met le centre en activité. Par exemple, dans
Dhyana-bindu Upanishad, les pétales du chakra du cœur sont associés à
dévotion, paresse, colère, charité et qualités similaires. Je n'ai pas encore rencontré
avec des faits qui le confirment, et il n'est pas facile de voir exactement
comment il peut être, parce que l'apparence est produite par certains facilement
forces reconnaissables, et les pétales dans un centre particulier sont soit actifs
ou non actifs selon que ces forces ont été ou non excitées, et leur
le développement ne semble pas avoir de lien plus direct avec la moralité que le
élargissement du biceps. J’ai certainement rencontré des personnes chez qui certains des
centres étaient en pleine activité, bien que l'avancement moral ne fût nullement
exceptionnellement élevé, alors que chez d'autres personnes de haute spiritualité et
la plus noble morale possible, les centres n'étaient guère encore vitalisés; alors
qu'il ne semble pas y avoir de lien nécessaire entre les deux
développements.

Il existe cependant certains faits observables qui peuvent être le
base de cette idée plutôt curieuse. Bien que la ressemblance avec les pétales soit causée par
les mêmes forces circulent autour du centre, alternativement sur et sous
les différents rayons, ces rayons diffèrent par le caractère, parce que le ronronnement
la force est subdivisée en ses composants ou qualités, et donc chaque
rayon rayonne une influence propre qui lui est propre, même si les variations sont
légère. La force secondaire, en passant chaque rayon, est dans une certaine mesure modifiée
par son influence, et change donc un peu dans sa teinte. Certains d'entre eux
les nuances de couleur peuvent indiquer une forme de force utile à la croissance
d'une certaine qualité morale, et lorsque cette qualité est renforcée, son correspondant
la vibration sera plus prononcée. Ainsi, l'approfondissement ou l'affaiblissement de la teinte
pourrait être prise pour présumer la possession de plus ou moins de cet attribut.

LE CHAKRA DES RACINES

Le premier centre, la base (planche I), à la base du
colonne vertébrale, a une force primaire qui rayonne dans quatre rayons, et donc
organise ses ondulations de manière à donner l’effet de sa division en
des quadrants alternativement rouges et orangés, avec des creux entre eux. Ce
fait sembler comme marqué avec le signe de la croix, et pour cette raison
la croix est souvent utilisée pour symboliser ce centre, et parfois une croix enflammée
est pris pour indiquer le feu du serpent qui y réside. En agissant avec
vigueur, ce chakra est de couleur rouge orangé ardent, correspondant de près au
type de vitalité qui lui est envoyé du centre splénique. En effet, il
on remarquera que dans le cas de chacun des chakras, un semblable
correspondance avec la couleur de sa vitalité peut être vu.

LE CHAKRA DE LA RATE

Le deuxième centre, le splénique (planche II), à la rate, est
consacré à la spécialisation, à la subdivision et à la dispersion de la vitalité qui
vient à nous du soleil. Cette vitalité en ressort à nouveau en six
flux horizontaux, la septième variété étant attirée dans le moyeu de la roue.
Ce centre a donc six pétales ou ondulations, toutes de couleurs différentes,
et est spécialement radiant, brillant et semblable au soleil. Chacune des six divisions du
la roue montre principalement la couleur de l’une des formes de la force vitale
– rouge, orange, jaune, vert, bleu et violet.

LE CHAKRA NAVEL

Le troisième centre, l’ombilical (planche IV), au nombril ou
plexus solaire, reçoit une force primaire avec dix radiations, de sorte qu'il vibre dans
de manière à se diviser en dix ondulations ou pétales. C'est très
étroitement associé à des sentiments et des émotions de divers types. Sa prédominante
la couleur est un curieux mélange de plusieurs nuances de rouge, bien qu’il existe aussi une
beaucoup de vert dedans. Les divisions sont alternativement principalement rouges et principalement
vert.

LE CHAKRA DE COEUR

Le quatrième centre, le cœur (plaque V), au cœur, est de
une couleur dorée brillante, et chacun de ses quadrants est divisé en trois parties,
ce qui lui donne douze ondulations, car sa force première lui fait douze
rayons.

LE CHAKRA DE LA GORGE

Le cinquième centre, le larynx (planche VII), à la gorge,
a seize rayons, et donc seize divisions apparentes. Il y a un bon
beaucoup de bleu, mais son effet général est argenté et brillant, avec une sorte
de suggestion comme du clair de lune sur l'eau ondulante. Le bleu et le vert prédominent
alternativement dans ses sections.

LE CHAKRA DE BROW

Le sixième centre, le frontal (planche IX), entre le
sourcils, a l’air de se diviser en deux moitiés, l’une principalement
rose, mais avec beaucoup de jaune, et l’autre
principalement une sorte de bleu violacé, encore une fois en accord avec les couleurs
des types spéciaux de vitalité qui le vivifient. C'est peut-être pour cette raison
dans les livres indiens, ce centre est mentionné comme n’ayant que deux pétales, bien que
si l'on compte les ondulations du même caractère que celles du précédent
nous trouverons que chaque moitié est subdivisée en quarante-huit,
faisant quatre vingt seize en tout, parce que sa force principale a ce nombre de
radiations.

Ce saut brusque forme de 16 à 96 rayons et encore une fois le même
variation plus surprenante de 96 à 972 entre ce chakra et le prochain, montrer
nous que nous traitons maintenant avec des centres d'un ordre tout à fait différent de
ceux que nous avons envisagés jusqu'ici. Nous ne connaissons pas encore tous les
facteurs qui déterminent le nombre de rayons dans un chakra, mais il est déjà
évident qu'ils représentent des nuances de variation dans la force primaire. Avant nous
peut dire beaucoup plus que cela, des centaines d'observations et de comparaisons doivent être
made – made, repété et vérifié maintes et maintes fois. Mais en attendant autant
est clair – que même si le besoin de la personnalité peut être satisfait par un nombre limité
nombre de types de force, lorsque nous arrivons à la plus haute et plus permanente
principes de l'homme, nous rencontrons une complexité, une multiplicité, qui exige
son expression est un choix beaucoup plus vaste de modifications de l’énergie.

LA CHAKRA DE LA COURONNE

Le septième centre, le coronal (voir frontispice), à
le haut de la tête, est une fois remué dans son activité la plus resplendissante de
tous, plein de chromatique indescriptible, effets et vibrant avec presque
rapidité inconcevable. Il semble contenir toutes sortes de teintes prismatiques, mais est
dans l'ensemble principalement violet. Il est décrit dans les livres indiens comme mille pétales,
et vraiment ce n’est pas très loin de la vérité, le nombre de radiations de
sa force principale dans le cercle extérieur est de neuf cent soixante. Chaque ligne
de ceci sera vu fidèlement reproduit dans notre frontispice, bien qu'il soit
difficilement possible de donner l’effet des pétales séparés. De plus
il a une caractéristique qui est possédée par aucun des autres chakras – une sorte de
bain tourbillon central auxiliaire de couleur blanche brillante, recouvert d’or au cœur –
une activité mineure qui possède douze ondulations.

Ce chakra est généralement le dernier à être réveillé. dans le
en commençant, il a la même taille que les autres, mais à mesure que l'homme avance sur le
Chemin d’avancement spirituel, il augmente progressivement jusqu’à couvrir presque
tout le haut de la tête. Une autre particularité assiste à son développement. C'est a
d'abord une dépression dans le corps éthérique, comme le sont tous les autres, car à travers
comme par eux, la force divine entre de l'extérieur; mais quand l'homme
réalise sa position en tant que roi de la lumière divine, dispensant des largesses à tous
autour de lui, ce chakra se renverse, se retournant comme à l'envers; c'est non
plus un canal de réception mais de radiation, non plus une dépression mais une
la proéminence, sortant de la tête comme un dôme, une véritable couronne de gloire.

Dans les images orientales et les statues des divinités ou des grands hommes
cette importance est souvent montrée. Sur la figure 2, il apparaît sur la tête d’une statue de
le Seigneur Bouddha à Borobudur à Java. C’est la méthode conventionnelle de
le représentant, et sous cette forme il se trouve sur la tête de milliers
des images du Seigneur Bouddha partout dans le monde oriental. Dans de nombreux cas, il sera
être vu que les deux niveaux du chakra Sahasrara sont copiés – le dôme plus grand
de 960 pétales en premier, puis le plus petit dôme de 12 en sortant à son tour.
La tête à droite est celle de Brahma du Hokke-do de Todai-ji, à Nara
au Japon (à partir de l'an 749); et on verra que la statue porte
une coiffe conçue pour représenter ce chakra, bien que sous une forme quelque peu
différente de la précédente, montrant la couronne de flammes jaillissant d'elle.

Il apparaît aussi dans la symbologie chrétienne, dans les couronnes
porté par les quatre vingt vingt aînés qui sont à jamais les jeter avant la
trône de Dieu. Chez l'homme très développé, ce chakra coronal se déverse
splendeur et gloire qui fait de lui une véritable couronne; et le sens de
ce passage de l'Écriture est que tout ce qu'il a gagné, tous les magnifiques
karma qu'il fait, toute la force spirituelle merveilleuse qu'il génère – tout
qu'il jette sans cesse aux pieds de la Locos pour être utilisé dans son travail.
Alors, encore et encore, peut-il continuer à jeter sa couronne d'or, parce que
elle se reforme continuellement au fur et à mesure que la force jaillit en lui.

AUTRES COMPTES DE LA
CENTRES

Ces sept centres de force sont fréquemment décrits dans
La littérature sanscrite, dans certains des Upanishads mineurs, dans les Puranas et dans
Œuvres tantriques. Ils sont utilisés aujourd'hui par de nombreux yogis indiens. Un ami a connu
avec la vie intérieure de l'Inde m'assure qu'il sait d'une école dans cette
pays qui utilise gratuitement les chakras – une école numérotée comme son
environ seize mille élèves répartis sur une vaste zone. Il y a beaucoup
informations intéressantes disponibles sur le sujet provenant de sources hindoues, que nous
va essayer de résumer avec des commentaires dans un chapitre ultérieur.

Il semble également que certains mystiques européens aient été informés
avec les chakras. La preuve en est donnée dans un livre intitulé Theosophia
Practica du célèbre mystique allemand Johann Georg Gichtel, élève de
Jacob Boehme, qui appartenait probablement à la société secrète des Rose-Croix.
C’est à partir de cet ouvrage de Gichtel que notre planche III est reproduite sous la forme
permission des éditeurs. Ce livre a été publié en 1696.
bien que dans l'édition de 1736, il est dit que les images, dont le volume
est principalement une description, ont été imprimés seulement une dizaine d’années après le décès de
auteur, qui a eu lieu en 1710. Le livre doit être distingué d'un
recueil de correspondance de Gichtel présenté sous le même titre
Theosophia Practica; le présent volume ne se présente pas sous forme de lettres, mais
se compose de six chapitres traitant du sujet de cette régénération mystique
qui était un principe si important de la Rose-Croix.

L'illustration que nous donnons ici a été photographiée
de la traduction française de Theosophia Practica, publiée en 1897
dans la bibliothèque rosicrucienne (n ° 4) de la bibliothèque Chacornac, Paris.

Gichtel, né en 1638 à Ratisbonne en Bavière,
étudié la théologie et le droit et pratiqué comme avocat; mais ensuite, devenir
conscient d’un monde spirituel intérieur, a renoncé à tous ses intérêts et est devenu
le fondateur d'un mouvement chrétien mystique. Être opposé à l'ignorant
l'orthodoxie de son temps, il a attiré sur lui la haine de ceux qu'il avait
attaqué, et vers 1670, il fut par conséquent banni et ses biens
confisqué. Il a finalement trouvé refuge en Hollande, où il a vécu pendant
reste quarante ans de sa vie.

Il a évidemment considéré les chiffres imprimés dans son
Theosophia Practica comme étant de nature secrète; apparemment ils ont été gardés
dans le petit cercle de ses disciples pendant un certain nombre d'années. Ils étaient,
il dit, le résultat d'une illumination intérieure – vraisemblablement de ce que dans notre moderne
Parfois, nous devrions appeler des facultés de voyance. Sur la page de titre de son livre, il
dit qu'il est, "Un bref exposé des trois principes des trois mondes
chez l'homme, représentés en images claires, montrant comment et où ils ont leur
Centres respectifs dans l'homme intérieur; selon ce que l'auteur a trouvé dans
lui-même dans la contemplation divine et ce qu'il a ressenti, goûté et perçu ».

Comme la plupart des mystiques de son époque, cependant, Gichtel manque de
exactitude qui devrait caractériser le véritable occultisme et le mysticisme; dans son
description des figures qu’il se permet long, bien que souvent assez
digressions intéressantes sur les difficultés et les problèmes de la vie spirituelle.
En tant qu’exposition de ses illustrations, toutefois, son livre n’est pas un succès.
Peut-être n'osait-il pas trop en dire; ou il peut avoir voulu induire son
les lecteurs à apprendre à voir par eux-mêmes ce dont il était en train d'écrire. Il semble
probable que par la vie véritablement spirituelle qu'il menait, il avait développé suffisamment
voyance pour voir ces chakras, mais qu'il n'était pas conscient de leur véritable
caractère et utilisation, de sorte que dans ses tentatives pour expliquer leur sens, il a attaché
à eux le symbolisme actuel de l'école mystique à laquelle il appartenait.

Il s’agit ici, comme on le verra, de la nature terrestre
l'homme dans l'obscurité, il a peut-être une excuse pour être un peu
pessimiste sur ses chakras. Il laisse passer le premier et le second sans commentaire
(sachant peut-être qu’ils sont principalement concernés par les processus physiologiques),
mais qualifie le plexus solaire de foyer de colère – comme il est en réalité. Il voit le
centre du coeur rempli d'amour-propre, la gorge d'envie et d'avarice; et le
higher centres of the head radiate nothing better than pride.

He also assigns planets to the chakras, giving the Moon to
the basic, Mercury to the splenic, Venus to the umbilical, the Sun to the heart
(though it will be noted that a snake is coiled round it), Mars to the
laryngeal, Jupiter to the frontal, and Saturn to the coronal. He informs us
further that fire resides in the heart, water in the liver, earth in the lungs,
and air in the bladder.

It is noteworthy that he draws a spiral, starting from the
snake round the heart and passing through all the centres in turn; mais là
seems no very definite reason for the order in which this line touches them. le
symbolism of the running dog is not explained, so we are left at liberty to
interpret it as we will.

THE ROOT CHAKRA

THE SPLEEN CHAKRA

THE NAVEL CHAKRA

THE HEART CHAKRA

THE THROAT CHAKRA

THE BROW CHAKRA

THE CHAKRAS ACCORDING TO GICHTEL


THE STREAMS OF VITALITY


The author gives us later an illustration of the man
regenerated by the Christ, who has entirely crushed the serpent, but has
replaced the Sun by the Sacred Heart, dripping gore most gruesomely.

The interest of the picture to us, however, is not in the
author’s interpretations, but in the fact that it shows beyond the possibility
of mistake that at least some of the mystics of the seventeenth century knew of
the existence and position of the seven centres in the human body.

Further evidence of early knowledge about these force-centres
exists in the rituals of Freemasonry, the salient points of which come down to
us from time immemorial; the monuments show that these points were known and
practised in ancient Egypt, and they have been handed down faithfully to the
present day. Masons find them among their secrets, and by utilizing them
actually stimulate certain of these centres for the occasion and the purpose of
their work, though they generally know little or nothing of what is hap­pening
beyond the range of normal sight. Obviously explanations are impossible here,
but I have mentioned as much of the matter as is permissible in The Hidden
Life in Freemasonry.

CHAPTER II

THE FORCES

THE PRIMARY OR LIFE
FORCE

THE Deity sends forth
from Himself various forms of energy; there may well be hundreds of which we
know nothing; but some few of them have been observed. Each of those seen has
its appropriate manifestation at every level which our students have yet
reached; but for the moment let us think of them as they show themselves in the
physical world. One of them exhibits itself as electricity, another as the
serpent-fire, another as vitality, and yet another as the life-force, which is
quite a different thing from vitality, as will presently be seen.

Patient and long-continued effort is needed by the student
who would trace these forces to their origin and relate them to one another. À
the time when I collected into the book The Hidden Side of Things the
answers to questions which had been asked during previous years at the roof
meetings at Adyar, I knew of the manifestation on the physical plane of the
life-force, of kundalini and of vitality, but not yet of their relation to the
Three Outpourings, so that I described them as entirely different and separate
d'eux. Further research has enabled me to fill the gap, and I am glad now to
have the opportunity of correcting the mis-statement which I then made.

There are three principal forces flowing through the chakras,
and we may consider them as representative of the three aspects of the Logos.
The energy which we find rushing into the bell-like mouth of the chakra, and
setting up in relation to itself a secondary circular force, is one of the
expressions of the Second Out­pouring, from the Second Aspect of the Logos –
that stream of life which is sent out by him into the matter already vitalized
by the action of the Third Aspect of the Logos in the First Outpouring. Il est
this which is symbolized when it is said in Christian teaching that the Christ
is incarnate of (that is, takes form from) the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary.

That Second Outpouring has long ago subdivided itself to an
almost infinite degree; not only has it subdivided itself, but it has also
differentiated itself – ­that is to say, it seems to have done so. In reality
this is almost certainly only the maya or illusion through which we see
it in action. It comes through countless millions of channels, showing itself on
every plane and sub-plane of our system, and yet fundamentally it is one and the
same force, in no way for a moment to be confused with that First Outpouring
which long ago manufactured the chemical elements from which this Second
Outpouring takes the material of which its vehicles at all levels are built. Il
appears as though some of its manifestations were lower or denser, because it is
employing lower and denser matter; on the buddhic level we see it displaying
itself as the Christ-principle, gradually expanding and unfolding itself
imperceptibly within the soul of the man; in the astral and mental bodies we
perceive that various layers of matter are vivified by it, so that we note
different exhibitions of it appearing in the higher part of the astral in the
guise of a noble emotion, and in the lower part of the very same vehicle as a
mere rush of life-force energizing the matter of that body.

We find it in its lowest embodiment drawing round itself a
veil of etheric matter, and rushing from the astral body into the flower-like
bells of these chakras on the surface of the etheric part of the physical body.
Here it meets another force welling up from the interior of the human body-the
mysterious power called kundalini or the serpent-fire.

THE SERPENT-FIRE

This force is the physical-plane manifestation of another of
the manifold aspects of the power of the Logos, belonging to the First
Outpouring, which comes from the Third Aspect. It exists on all planes of which
we know anything; but it is the expression of it in etheric matter with which we
have to do at present. It is not convertible into either the primary force
already mentioned or the force of vitality which comes from the sun, and it does
not seem to be affected in any way by any other forms of physical energy. j'ai
seen as much as a million and a quarter volts of electricity put into a human
body, so that when the man held out his arm towards the wall, huge flames rushed
out from his fingers, yet he felt nothing un­usual, nor would he be in the least
burnt under these circumstances unless he actually touched some external object;
but even this enormous display of power had no effect whatever upon the
serpent-fire.

We have known for many years that there is deep down in the
earth what may be described as a laboratory of the Third Logos. On attempting to
investigate the conditions at the centre of the earth we find there a vast globe
of such tremendous force that we cannot approach it. We can touch only its outer
layers; but in doing even that it becomes evident that they are, in sympathetic
relation with the layers of kundalini in the human body. Into that centre the
force of the Third Logos must have poured ages ago, but it is working there
still. There He is engaged in the gradual development of new chemical elements,
which show increasing complexity of form, and more and more energetic internal
life or activity.

Students of chemistry are familiar with the Periodic Table
originated by the Russian chemist Mendeleff in the latter part of the last
century, in which the known chemical elements are arranged in the order of their
atomic weights, beginning with the lightest, hydrogen, which has an atomic
weight 1, and ending with the heaviest at present known, uranium, which has a
relative weight of 238.5. In our own investigations into these matters we found
that these atomic weights were almost exactly proportional to the number of
ultimate atoms in each element; we have recorded these numbers in Occult
Chemistry, and also the form and composition of each element.

In most cases the forms which we found when the elements were
examined with etheric sight indicate ­- as does the Periodic Table also – that
the elements have been developed in cyclic order, that they do not lie on a
straight line, but on an ascending spiral. We have been told that the elements
hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen (which constitute approximately half the crust of
our globe and nearly all its atmosphere) belong at the same time to another and
greater solar system, but we understand that the rest of the elements have been
developed by the Logos of our system. He is carrying on his spiral beyond
uranium, under conditions of temperature and pressure which are quite
inconceivable to us. And gradually, as new elements are formed, they are pushed
outwards and upwards towards the surface of the earth.

The force of kundalini in our bodies comes from that
laboratory of the Holy Ghost deep down in the earth. It belongs to that terrific
glowing fire of the underworld. That fire is in striking contrast to the fire of
vitality which comes from the sun, which will presently be explained. The latter
belongs to air and light and the great open spaces; but the fire which comes
from below is much more material, like the fire of red-hot iron, of glowing
metal. There is a rather terrible side to this tremendous force; it gives the
impression of descending deeper and deeper into matter, of moving slowly but
irresistibly onwards, with relentless certainty.

The serpent-fire is not that portion of the energy of the
Third Logos with which He is engaged in build­ing denser and denser chemical
elements. It is more of the nature of a further development of that force which
is in the living centre of such elements as radium. It is part of the action of
the life of the Third Logos after it has reached its lowest immersion and is
once more ascending towards the heights from which it came. We have long
understood that the second life-wave, from the Second Logos, descends into
matter through the first, second and third elemental kingdoms, down to the
mineral, and then ascends again through the vegetable and animal to the human
kingdom, where it meets the downward-reaching power of the First Logos. C'est
suggested in Fig. 3, in which the oval indicating that Second Outpouring comes
down on the left side, reaches its densest point at the bottom of the diagram,
and then rises again in the curve on the right-hand side of the figure.

We now find that the force of the Third Logos also rises
again after touching its lowest point, so we must imagine that the vertical line
in the centre of the figure returns upon its path. Kundalini is the power of
that Outpouring on its path of return, and it works in the bodies of evolving
creatures in intimate contact with the primary force already mentioned, the two
acting together to bring the creature to the point where it can receive the
Outpouring of the First Logos, and become an ego, a human being, and still carry
on the vehicles even after that. We thus draw God’s mighty power from the earth
beneath as well as from heaven above; we are children of the earth as well as of
the sun. These two meet in us, and work together for our evolution. We cannot
have one without the other, but if one is greatly in excess there are serious
dangers. Hence the risk of any develop­ment of the deeper layers of the
serpent-fire before the life in the man is pure and refined.

We hear much of this strange fire and of the danger of
prematurely arousing it; and much of what we hear is undoubtedly true. Il y a
indeed most serious peril in awakening the higher aspects of this furious energy
in a man before he has gained the strength to control it, before he has acquired
the purity of life and thought which alone can make it safe for him to unleash
potency so tremendous. But kundalini plays a much larger part in daily life than
most of us have hitherto supposed; there is a far lower and gentler
manifestations of it which is already awake within us all, which is not only
innocuous but beneficent, which is doing its appointed work day and night while
we are entirely unconscious of its presence and activity. We have of course
previously noticed this force as it flows along the nerves, calling it simply
nerve-fluid, and not recognizing it for what it really is. The endeavour to
analyse it and to trace it back to his source shows us that it enters the human
body at the root chakra.

Like all other forces, kundalini is itself invisible; mais en
the human body it clothes itself in a curious nest of hollow concentric spheres
of astral and etheric matter, one within another, like the balls in a Chinese
puzzle. There appear to be seven such concentric spheres resting within the root
chakra, in and around the last real cell or hollow of the spine close to the
coccyx; but only in the outermost of these spheres is the force active in the
ordinary man. In the others it is “sleeping”, as is said in some of the Oriental
books; and it is only when the man attempts to arouse the energy latent in those
inner layers that the dangerous phenomena of the fire begin to show themselves.
The harmless fire of the outer skin of the ball flows up the spinal column,
using (so far as investigations have gone up to the present) the three lines of
Sushumna, Ida and Pingala simultaneously.

THE THREE SPINAL
CHANNELS

Of these three currents which flow in and around the spinal
cord of every human being Madame Blavatsky writes as follows in The Secret
Doctrine:

The Trans-Himalayan school … locates Sushumna, the
chief seat of these three Nadis, in the central tube of the spinal cord.
… Ida and Pingala are simply the sharps and flats of that Fa
of human nature, … which, when struck in a proper way, awakens the sentries
on either side, the spiritual Manas and the physical Kama, and subdues the lower
through the higher.

It is the pure Akasha that passes up Sushumna;
its two aspects flow in Ida and Pingala. These are three vital
airs, and are symbolized by the Brahmanical thread. They are ruled by the Will.
Will and Desire are the higher and lower aspects of one and the same thing.
Hence the importance of the purity of the canals … From these three a
circulation is set up, and from the central canal passes into the whole body.

Ida and Pingala play
along the curved wall of the cord in which is Sushumna. Elles sont
semi-material, positive and negative, sun and moon, and start into action the
free and spiritual current of Sushumna. They have distinct paths of their
own, otherwise they would radiate all over the body.

In The Hidden Life in Freemasonry I referred to a
certain Masonic use of these forces as follows:

It is part of the plan of Freemasonry to stimulate the
activity of these forces in the human body, in order that evolution may be
quickened. The stimulation is applied at the moment when R. W. M. creates,
receives and constitutes; in the First Degree it affects the Ida or
feminine aspect of the force, thus making it easier for the candidate to control
passion and emotion; in the Second Degree it is the Pingala or masculine
aspect which is strengthened, in order to facilitate the control of mind; mais en
the Third Degree, it is the central energy itself, the Sushumna, which is
aroused, thereby opening the way for the influence of the pure spirit from on
haute. It is by passing up through this channel of the Sushumna that a
yogi leaves his physical body at will in such a manner that he can retain full
consciousness on higher planes, and bring back into his physical brain a clear
memory of his experiences. The little figures below give a rough indication of
the way in which these forces flow through the human body; in a man the Ida
starts from the base of the spine just on the left of the Sushumna
and the Pingala on the right (be it understood that I mean the right and
left of the man, not the spectator); but in a woman these positions are
reversed. The lines end in the medulla oblongata.

The spine is called in India the Brahmadanda, the
stick of Brahma; and the drawing given in Fig. 4(d) shows that it is also the
original of the caduceus of Mercury, the two snakes of which symbolize the
kundalini or serpent-fire which is presently to be set in motion along those
channels, while the wings typify the power of conscious flight through higher
planes which the develop­ment of that fire confers. Fig. 4(a) shows the
stimulated Ida after the initiation into the First Degree; this line is
crimson in colour. To it is added at the Passing the yellow line of the
Pingala, depicted in Fig. 4(b); while at the Raising the series is completed
by the deep blue stream of the Sushumna, illustrated by Fig. 4(c).

The kundalini which normally flows up these is specialized
during this upward passage, and that in two ways. There is in it a curious
mingling of positive and negative qualities which might almost be described as
male and female. On the whole there is a great preponderance of the feminine
aspect, which is perhaps the reason why in the Indian books this force is always
spoken of as “she”, also perhaps why a certain “chamber in the heart” where
kundalini is centred in some forms of yoga is described in The Voice of the
Silence as the home of the World’s Mother. But when this serpent-fire issues
from its home in the root chakra and rises up the three channels which we have
mentioned it is noteworthy that the section rising through the channel Pingala
is almost wholly masculine, whereas that rising through the channel Ida is
almost wholly feminine. The large stream passing up the Sushumna seems to retain
its original proportions.

The second differentiation which takes place during the
passage of this force up the spine is that it becomes intensely impregnated with
the personality of the man. It seems to enter at the bottom as a very general
force and to issue forth at the top as definitely this particular man’s
nerve-fluid carrying with it the impress of his special qualities and
idiosyncrasies, which manifest themselves in the vibrations of those
spine-centres which may be considered as the roots from which spring the stems
of the surface chakras.

THE MARRIAGE OF THE
FORCES

Though the mouth of the flower-like bell of the chakra is on
the surface of the etheric body, the stem of the trumpet-like blossom always
springs from a centre in the spinal cord. It is almost always to these centres
in the spine, and not to the superficial manifes­tations of them, that the Hindu
hooks refer when they speak of the chakras. In each case an etheric stem,
usually curving downwards, connects this root in the spine with the external
chakra. (See Plate VI.) As the stems of all the chakras thus start from the
spinal cord, this force naturally flows down those stems into the flower-bells;
where it meets the incoming stream of the divine life, and the pressure set up
by that encounter causes the radiation of the mingled forces horizontally along
the spokes of the chakra.

The surfaces of the streams of the primary force and the
kundalini grind together at this point, as they revolve in opposite directions
and considerable pres­sure is caused. This has been symbolized as the “marriage”
of the divine life, which is vividly male, to the kundalini, which is always
considered as distinc­tively feminine, and the compound energy which results is
what is commonly called the personal magnetism of the man; it then vivifies the
plexuses which are seen in the neighbourhood of several of the chakras; ça coule
along all the nerves of the body, and is principally responsible for keeping up
its tempe­rature. It sweeps along with it the vitality which has been absorbed
and specialized by the spleen chakra.

When the two forces combine as mentioned above there is a
certain interlocking of some of the respective molecules. The primary force
seems capable of occupying several different kinds of etheric form; ce qui
it most commonly adopts is an octahedron, made of four atoms
arranged in a square, with one central atom constantly vibrating up and down
through the middle of the quadrilateral and at right angles to it. Ça aussi
sometimes uses an exceedingly active little molecule consisting of three atoms.
The kunda­lini usually clothes itself in a flat ring of seven atoms, while the
vitality globule, which also consists of seven atoms, arranges them on a plan
not unlike that of the primary force, except that it forms a hexagon instead of
a square. Fig. 5 may help the reader to image these arrangements.

A and B are forms adopted by the primary force, C is that
taken by the vitality globule, and D that of the kundalini. E shows the effect
of the combination of A and D; F that of B and D. In A, B and C the central atom
is all the time in rapid vibration at right angles to the surface of the paper,
springing up from it to a height greater than the diameter of the disc, and then
sinking below the paper to an equal distance, but repeating this shuttle-like
motion several times in a second. (Of course it will be understood that I speak
relatively and not literally; in reality the sphere which cur disc represents is
so tiny as to be invisible to the most powerful microscope; but in proportion
to that size its vibration is as I describe.) In D the only motion is a
steady procession round and round the circle, but there is an immense amount of
latent energy there which manifests itself as soon as the combina­tions take
place which we have endeavoured to illustrate in E and F. The two positive atoms
in A and B  continue when thus combined their previous violent activities – in
fact, their vigour is greatly intensified; while the atoms in D, though they
still move along the same circular pathway, accelerate their speed so enormously
that they cease to be visible as separate atoms and appear as a glowing ring.

The first four molecules depicted above belong to the type to
which in Occult Chemistry Dr. Besant gives the name of
Hyper-meta-proto-elemental matter.
Indeed, they may be identical with some of those which she drew for that book.
But E and F, being compounds, must be taken as working upon the next sub-plane,
which she calls the super-etheric, and so would be classified as meta-proto
matière. Type B is far com­moner than type A, and it naturally follows that in
the nerve-fluid which is the final result of the confluence we find many more
examples of F and E. This nerve-­fluid is therefore a stream of various
elements, contain­ing specimens of each one of the types shown in Fig. 4 –
simple and compound, married and single, bachelors, old maids and conjugal
couples, all rushing onward  together.

The marvellously energetic upward and down­ward movement of
the central atom in the combina­tions E and F gives them a quite unusual shape
within their magnetic fields as shown in Fig. 6.

The upper half of this seems to me to bear a remarkable
resemblance to the linga which is frequently to be seen in front of the temples
of Shiva in India. I am told that the linga is an emblem of creative power, and
that Indian devotees regard it as extending down­wards into the earth to just
the same extent as it rises above it. I have wondered whether the ancient Hindus
knew of this especially active molecule, and of the immense importance of the
part it plays in the support of human and animal life; and whether they carved
their symbol in stone as a record of their occult knowledge.

THE SYMPATHETIC SYSTEM

Anatomists describe two nervous systems in the human body –
the cerebro-spinal and the sympathetic. The cerebro-spinal begins with the
brain, continues down the spinal cord, and ramifies to all parts of the body
through the ganglia from which nerves issue between every two successive
vertebrae. The sympa­thetic system consists of two cords which run almost the
whole length of the spine, situated a little forward of its axis, and to the
right and left respectively. From the ganglia of these two cords, which are not
quite as numerous as those of the spinal cord, sympathetic nerves proceed to
form the network systems called the plexuses, from which in turn, as from relay
stations, emerge smaller terminal ganglia and nerves. These two systems are,
however, interrelated in a great variety of ways by so many connecting nerves
that one must not think of them as two distinct neural organizations. Dans
addition we have a third group called the vagus nerves, which arise in the
medulla oblongata, and descend independently far into the body, mingling
constantly with the nerves and plexuses of the other systems.

The spinal cord, the left sympathetic cord, and the left
vagus nerve are all shown in Plate VI. It exhibits the nervous connections
between the spinal and sympathetic ganglia, and the channels by which the latter
give forth nerves to form the principal plexuses of the sympathetic system. Il
will be noted that there is a tendency for the plexuses to droop from the
ganglia in which they have their origin, so that, for example, the coeliac or
solar plexus depends largely upon the great splanchnic nerve, shown in our plate
as rising from the fifth thoracic sympathetic ganglion, which in turn is
connected with the fourth thoracic spinal ganglion. This is almost on a level
with the heart horizontally, but the nerve descends and joins the smaller and
the smallest splanchnic nerves, which merge from lower thoracic ganglia, and
these pass through the diaphragm and go to the solar plexus. Il y a aussi
other connections between that plexus and the cords, shown in the Plate to some
extent, but too complicated to describe. The principal nerves leading to the
cardiac plexus bend downwards in a similar manner. In the case of the pharyngeal
plexus there is but a slight droop, and the carotid plexus even rises upward
from the internal carotid nerve, coming from the superior cervical sympathetic
ganglion.

THE CENTRES IN THE
SPINE

There is a somewhat similar droop in the etheric stem which
connects the flowers or chakras on the surface of the etheric double with their
corresponding centres in the spine, which are situated approximately in the
positions shown in red on Plate VI, and detailed in Table II. The radiating
spokes of the chakras supply force to these sympathetic plexuses to assist them
in their relay work; in the present state of our knowledge it seems to me rash
to identify, the chakras with the plexuses, as some writers appear to have
done.

The hypogastric or pelvic plexuses are no doubt connected in
some way with the Svadhisthana chakra situated near the generative organs, which
is mentioned in Indian books but not used in our scheme of develop­ment. le
plexuses grouped together in this region are probably largely subordinate to the
solar plexus in all matters of conscious activity, as both they and the splenic
plexus are connected very closely with it by numerous nerves.

NAME OF CHAKRA

POSITION ON SURFACE

APPROXIMATE POSITION OF SPINAL CHAKRA

SYPHATETIC PLEXUS

CHIEF SUBSIDIARY PLEXUSES

Racine

Base of spine

4th Sacral

Coccygeal

Spleen

Over the spleen

1st Lumbar

Splenic

Navel

Over the navel

8th Thoracic

Coeliac or Solar

Hepatic, pyloric, gastric, mesenteric, etc.

Cœur

Over the heart

8th Cervical

Cardiac

Pulmonary, coronary, etc.

Gorge

At the throat

3rd Cervical

Pharyngeal

Brow

On the brow

1st Cervical

Carotid

Cavernous, and cephalic ganglia generally

TABLE II

The crown chakra is not connected with any of the sympathetic
plexuses of the physical body, but is associated with the pineal gland and the
pituitary body, as we shall see in Chapter IV. It is related also to the
development of the brae and spinal system of nerves.

On the origin and
relations of the sympathetic and cerebro-spinal systems Dr. Annie Besant writes
as follows in A Study in Consciousness:

Let us see how the building of the nervous system, by
vibratory impulses from the astral, begins and is carried on. We find a minute
group of nerve cells and tiny processes connecting them. This is formed by the
action of a centre which has pre­viously appeared in the astral body – an
aggregation of astral matter arranged to form a centre for receiving and
responding to impulses from outside. From that astral centre vibrations pass
into the etheric body, causing little etheric whirlpools which draw into
themselves particles of denser physical matter, forming at last a nerve cell,
and groups of nerve cells. These physical centres, receiving vibrations from the
outer world, send impulses back to the astral centres, increasing their
vibrations; thus the physical and the astral centres act and re-act on each
other, and each becomes more complicated and more effective. As we pass up the
animal kingdom, we find the physical nervous system constantly improving, and
becoming a more and more dominant actor in the body, and this first-formed
system becomes, in the vertebrates, the sympathetic  system, controlling and
energising the vital organs – the heart, the lungs, the digestive tract; à côté de
it slowly develops the cerebro­spinal system, closely connected in its lower
workings with the sympathetic, and becoming gradually more and more dominant,
while it also becomes in its most important development the normal organ for the
expression of the “waking-consciousness”. This cerebro-spinal system is built up
by impulses originating in the mental, not in the astral plane, and is only
indirectly related to the astral through the sympathetic system, built up from
the astral.

VITALITY

We all know the feeling of cheerfulness and well-­being which
sunlight brings to us, but only students of occultism are fully aware of the
reasons for that sensation. Just as the sun floods his system with light and
heat, so does he perpetually pour out into it another force as yet unsuspected
by modern science – a force to which has been given the name “vitality”. C'est
radiated on all levels, and manifests itself in each realm – physical,
emotional, mental and the rest – but we are specially concerned for the moment
with its appearance in the lowest, where it enters some of the physical atoms,
immensely increases their activity, and makes them animated and glowing.

We must not confuse this force with electricity, though it in
some ways resembles it, for its action differs in many ways from that of either
electricity, light or heat. Any of the variants of this latter force cause
oscillation of the atom as a whole – an oscil­lation the size of which is
enormous as compared with that of the atom; but this other force which we call
vitality comes to the atom not from without, but from within.

THE VITALITY GLOBULE

The atom is itself nothing but the manifestation of a force;
the Solar Deity wills a certain shape which we call an ultimate physical atom
(Fig. 7), and by that effort of His will some fourteen thousand million “bubbles
in Koilon” are held in that particular form. It is necessary to emphasize the
fact that the cohesion of the bubbles in that form is entirely dependent upon
that effort of will, so that if that were for a single instant withdrawn, the
bubbles must fall apart again, and the whole physical realm would simply cease
to exist in far less than the period of a flash of lightning. So true is it that
the world is nothing but illusion, even from this point of view, to say nothing
of the fact that the bubbles of which the atom is built are themselves only
holes in Koilon, the true aether of space.

So it is the will-force of the Solar Deity continually
exercised which holds the atom together as such; and when we try to examine the
action of that force we see that it does not come into the atom from out­side,
but wells up within it – which means that it enters it from higher dimensions.
The same is true with regard to this other force which we call vitality; il
enters the atom from within along with the force that holds that atom together,
instead of acting upon it entirely from without, as do those other varieties of
force which we call light, heat or electricity.

When vitality wells up thus within an atom it endows it with
an additional life, and gives it a power of attraction so that it immediately
draws round it six other atoms which it arranges in a definite form, thus making
a sub-atomic or hyper-meta-proto-element, as I have already explained. Mais ça
element differs from all others which have so far been observed, in that the
force which creates it and holds it together comes from the First Aspect of the
Solar Deity instead of from the Third.

These globules are conspicuous above all others which may be
seen floating in the atmosphere, on account of their brilliance and extreme
activity – the intensely vivid life which they show. These are prob­ably the
fiery lives so often mentioned by Madame Blavatsky, as, for example, in The
Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 306, where she writes:

… We are taught that every physiological change, … nay,
life itself, or rather the objective phenomena of life, produced by certain
conditions and changes in the tissues of the body, which allow and force life to
act in that body – that all this is due to those unseen “Creators” and
“Destroyers”, which are called, in such a loose and general way, microbes. Il
might be supposed that these Fiery Lives and the microbes of Science are
identical. Ce n'est pas vrai. The Fiery Lives are the seventh and highest
sub-division of the plane of matter, and correspond in the individual with the
One Life of the Universe, though only on that plane of matter.

While the force that vivifies these globules is quite
different from light, it nevertheless seems to depend upon light for its power
of manifestation. In brilliant sunshine this vitality is constantly welling up
afresh, and the globules are generated with great rapidity and in incredible
numbers, but in cloudy weather there is a great diminution in the number of
globules formed, and during the night, so far as we have been able to see, the
operation is entirely suspended. In the night, therefore, we may be said to be
living upon the stock manufactured in the course of previous days, and though it
appears practically impossible that it should ever be entirely exhausted, that
stock evidently does run low when there is a long succession of cloudy days. le
globule, once charged, remains as a sub-atomic element, and is not subject to
any change or loss of force unless and until it is absorbed by some living
creature.

THE SUPPLY OF GLOBULES

Vitality, like light and heat, is pouring forth from the sun
continually, but obstacles frequently arise to prevent the full supply from
reaching the earth. In the wintry and melancholy climes miscalled the temperate,
it too often happens that for days together the sky is covered by a funeral pall
of heavy cloud, and this affects vitality just as it does light; ce ne est pas
altogether hinder its passage, but sensibly diminishes its amount. Therefore in
dull and dark weather vitality runs low, and over all living creatures there
comes an instinctive yearning for sunlight.

When vitalized atoms are thus more sparsely scattered, the
man in rude health increases his power of absorption, depletes a larger area,
and so keeps his strength at the normal level; but invalids and men of small
nerve-force, who cannot do this, often suffer severely, and find themselves
growing weaker and more irritable without knowing why. For similar reasons
vitality is at a lower ebb in the winter than in the summer, for even if the
short winter day be sunny, which is rare, we have still to face the long and
dreary winter night, during which we must exist upon such vitality as the day
has stored in our atmosphere. On the other hand the long summer day, when bright
and cloudless, charges the atmosphere so thoroughly with vitality that its short
night makes but little difference.

From the study of this question of vitality, the occultist
cannot fail to recognize that, quite apart from temperature, sunlight is one of
the most important factors in the attainment and preservation of perfect health
– a factor for the absence of which nothing else can entirely compensate. Puisque
this vitality is poured forth not only upon the physical world but upon all
others as well, it is evident that, when in other respects satisfactory
conditions are present, emotion, intellect and spirituality will be at their
best under clear skies and with the inestimable aid of the sunlight.

PSYCHIC FORCES

The three forces already mentioned – the primary, the
vitality and the Kundalini – are not directly con­nected with man’s mental and
emotional life, but only with his bodily well-being. But there are also forces
entering the chakras which may be described as psychic and spiritual. The first
two centres exhibit none of these, but the navel chakra and the others higher in
the body are ports of entry for forces which affect human consciousness.

In an article on Thought-Centres in the book The Inner
Life, I explained that masses of thought are very definite things, occupying
a place in space. Thoughts on the same subject and of the same character tend to
aggregate; therefore for many subjects there is a thought-centre, a definite
space in the atmosphere, and other thoughts about the same matter are attracted
to such a centre, and go to increase its size and influence. A thinker may in
this way contribute to a centre, but he in turn may be influenced by it; et
this is one of the reasons why people think in droves, like sheep. It is much
easier for a man of lazy mentality to accept a ready-made thought from someone
else than to go through the mental labour of considering the various aspects of
a subject and arriving at a decision for himself.

This is true on the mental plane with regard to thought; et,
with appropriate modifications, it is true on the astral plane with regard to
feeling. Thought flies like lightning through the subtle matter of the mental
plane, so the thought of the whole world on a certain subject may easily gather
together in one spot, and yet be accessible and attractive to every thinker on
that subject. Astral matter, though so far finer than physical, is yet denser
than that of the mental plane; the great clouds of “emotion-forms” which are
generated in the astral world by strong feelings do not all fly to one
world-centre, but they do coalesce with other forms of the same nature in their
own neighbourhood, so that enormous and very powerful “blocks” of feeling are
floating about almost everywhere, and a man may readily come into contact with
them and be influenced by them.

The connection of this matter with our present subject lies
in the fact that when such influence is exercised it is through the medium of
one or other of the chakras. To illustrate what I mean, let me take the example
of a man who is filled with fear. Those who have read the book Man Visible
and In­visible will remember that the condition of the astral body of such a
man is shown in Plate XIV. The vibrations radiated by an astral body in that
state will at once attract any fear-clouds that happen to be in the vicinity; si
the man can quickly recover himself and master his fear, the clouds will roll
back sullenly, but if the fear remains or increases they will discharge their
accumulated energy through his umbilical chakra, and his fear may become mad
panic in which he altogether loses control of himself, and may rush blindly into
any kind of danger. In the same way one who loses his temper attracts clouds of
anger, and renders himself liable to an inrush of feeling which will change his
indignation into maniacal fury – a condition in which he might commit murder by
an irresistible impulse, almost without knowing it. Similarly a man who yields
to depression may be swept into a terrible state of permanent melancholia; ou
one who allows himself to be obsessed by animal desires may become for the time
a monster of lust and sensuality, and may under that influence commit crimes the
thought of which will horrify him when he recovers his reason.

All such undesirable currents reach the man through the navel
chakra. Fortunately there are other and higher possibilities; for example there
are clouds of affection and of devotion, and he who feels these noble emotions
may receive through his heart chakra a wonderful enhancement of them, such as is
depicted in Man Visible and Invisible in Plates XI and XII.

The kind of emotion which affects the navel chakra in the
manner before-mentioned is indicated in Dr. Besant’s A Study in Consciousness,
where she divides the emotions into two classes, those of love and those of
hate. All those on the side of hate work in the navel chakra but those on the
side of love operate in the heart. She writes:

We have seen that desire has two main expressions: desire to
attract, in order to possess, or again to come into contact with, any object
which has previously afforded pleasure; desire to repel, in order to drive far
away, or to avoid contact with, any object which has previously inflicted pain.
We have seen that attraction and repulsion are the two forms of desire, swaying
the Self.

Emotion, being desire infused with intellect, inevitably
shows the same division into two. The emotion which is of the nature of
attraction, attracting objects to each other by pleasure, the integrating energy
in the universe, is called love. The emotion which is of the nature of
repulsion, driving objects apart from each other by pain, the disintegrating
energy in the universe, is called hate. These are the two stems from the root of
desire, and all the branches of the emotions may be traced back to one of these
twain.

Hence the identity of the characteristics of desire and
emotions; love seeks to draw to itself the attractive object, or to go after it,
in order to unite with it, to possess, or to be possessed by it. It binds by
pleasure, by happiness, as desire binds. Its ties are indeed more lasting, more
complicated, are composed of more numerous and more delicate threads interwoven
into greater complexity, but the essence of desire-attraction, the binding of
two objects together, is the essence of emotion-attraction, of love. And so also
does hate seek to drive from itself the repellent object or to flee from it, in
order to be apart from it, to repulse, or be repulsed by it. It separates by
pain, by unhappiness. And thus the essence of desire-repulsion, the driving
apart of two objects, is the essence of emotion-repulsion, of hate. Love and
hate are the elaborated and thought-infused forms of the simple desires to
possess and to shun.

Later on, Dr. Besant explains that each of thee two great
emotions subdivides into three parts, ac­cording as the man who has it feels
strong or weak.

Love looking downwards is benevolence; love looking upwards
is reverence; and these are the several common characteris­tics of love from
superiors to inferiors, and from inferiors to superiors universally. The normal
relations between husband and wife, and those between brothers and sisters,
afford us the field for studying the manifestation of love between equals. nous
see love showing itself as mutual tenderness and mutual trustfulness, as
consideration, respect, and desire to please, as quick insight into and
endeavour to fulfil the wishes of the other, as magnanimity, forbearance. le
elements present in the love-emotions of superior to inferior are found here,
but mutuality is impressed on all of them. So we may say that the common
characteristics of love between equals is desire for mutual help.

Thus we have benevolence, desire for mutual help, and
reverence as the three main divisions of the love-emotion, and under these all
love emotions may be classified. For all human relations are summed up under the
three classes: the relations of superiors to inferiors, of equals to equals, of
inferiors to superiors.

She then explains the hate-emotions in the same way:

Hate looking downwards is scorn, and looking upwards is fear.
Similarly, hate between equals will show itself in anger, combativeness,
disrespect, violence, aggressiveness, jealousy, in­solence, etc. – all the
emotions which repel man from man when they stand as rivals, face to face, not
hand in hand. The common characteristic of hate between equals will thus be
mutual injury. And three main characteristics of the hate-emotion are scorn,
desire for mutual injury, and fear.

Love is characterised in all its manifestations by sympathy,
self-sacrifice, the desire to give; these are its essential factors, whether as
benevolence, as desire for mutual help, as reverence. For all these directly
serve attraction, bring about union, are of the very nature of love. Hence love
is of the spirit; for sympathy is the feeling for another as one would feel for
oneself; self-sacrifice is the recognition of the claim of the other, as
oneself; giving is the condition of spiritual life. Thus love is seen to belong
to spirit, to the life-side of the universe.

Hate, on the other hand, is characterised in all its
mani­festations by antipathy, self-aggrandisement, the desire to take; ceux-ci sont
its essential factors, whether as scorn, desire for mutual injury, or fear. Tout
these directly serve repulsion, driving one apart from another. Hence, hate is
of matter, emphasises mani­foldness and differences, is essentially
separateness, belongs to the form-side of the universe.

CHAPTER III

THE ABSORPTION OF
VITALITY

THE GLOBULE

THE vitality globule though inconceivably minute, is so
brilliant that it is often seen even by those who are not in the ordinary sense
clairvoyant. Many a man, looking out towards the distant horizon, especially
over the sea, will notice against the sky a number of the tiniest possible
points of light dashing about in all directions with amazing rapidity. Ceux-ci sont
the vitality globules, each consisting of seven physical atoms, as shown in Fig.
5C – the Fiery Lives, specks charged with that force which the Hindus call
prana. It is often exceedingly difficult to be certain of the exact shade of
meaning attached to these Sanskrit terms, because the Indian method of
approaching these studies is so different from our own; but I think we may
safely take prana as the equivalent to our vitality.

When this globule is flashing about in the atmos­phere,
brilliant as it is, it is almost colourless, and shines with a white or slightly
golden light. But as soon as it is drawn into the vortex of the force-centre at
the spleen it is decomposed and breaks up into streams of different colours,
though it does not follow exactly our division of the spectrum. As its component
atoms are whirled round the vortex, each of the six spokes seizes upon one of
them, so that all the atoms charged with yellow flow along one, and all those
charged with green along another, and so on, while the seventh disappears
through the centre of the vortex   – through the hub of the wheel, as it were.
These rays then pass off in different directions, each to do its special work in
the vitalization of the body. Plate VIII gives a diagrammatic representation of
these paths of the dispersed prana.

As I have said, the colours of the divisions of prana are not
exactly those which we ordinarily use in the solar spectrum, but rather resemble
the arrange­ment of colours which we see on higher levels in the causal, mental
and astral bodies. What we call indigo is divided between the violet ray and the
blue ray, so that we find only two divisions there instead of three; mais sur le
other hand what we usually call red is divided into two – rose-red and dark red.
The six radiants are therefore violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and dark
red; while the seventh or rose-red atom (more properly the first, since this is
the original atom in which the force first appeared) passes down through the
centre of the vortex. Vitality is thus clearly sevenfold in its constitution,
but it flows through the body in five main streams, as has been  stated in some
of the Indian book, for after issuing from the splenic centre the blue and the
violet join into one ray, and so do the orange and the dark red (Plate VIII).

THE VIOLET-BLUE RAY

(1) The violet-blue ray flashes upwards to the throat, where
it seems to divide itself, the light blue remaining to course through and
quicken the throat-­centre, while the dark blue and violet pass on into the
cerveau. The dark blue expends itself in the lower and central parts of the brain,
while the violet floods the upper part, and appears to give special vigour to
the force-centre at the top of the head, diffusing itself chiefly through the
nine hundred and sixty petals of the outer part of that centre.

THE YELLOW RAY

(2) The yellow ray is directed to the heart, but after doing
its work there part of it also passes on to the brain and permeates it,
directing itself principaly to the twelve-petalled flower in the midst of the
highest force-centre.

THE GREEN RAY

(3) The green ray floods the abdomen, and whale centring
especially in the solar plexus, evidently vivifies the liver, kidneys and
intestines, and the digestive apparatus generally.

THE ROSE RAY

(4) The rose-coloured ray runs all over the body along the
nerves, and is clearly the life of the nervous system. This is the specialized
vitality which one man may readily pour into another in whom it is deficient. Si
the nerves are not fully supplied with this rosy light they become sensitive and
intensely irritable, so that the patient finds it almost impossible to remain in
one position, and yet gains but little ease when he moves to another. The least
noise or touch is agony to him, and he is in a condition of acute misery. le
flooding of his nerves with specialized prana by some healthy person brings
instant relief, and a feeling of healing and peace descends upon him. A man in
robust health usually absorbs and specializes so much more of this vitality than
is actually needed by his own body that he is constantly radiating a torrent of
rose-coloured atoms, and so unconsciously pours strength upon his weaker fellows
without losing any­thing himself; or by an effort of his will he can gather
together this superfluous energy and aim it inten­tionally at one whom he wishes
to help.

The physical body has a certain blind instinctive
consciousness of its own, which we sometimes call the physical elemental. Il
corresponds in the physical world to the desire-elemental of the astral body;
and this consciousness seeks always to protect its body from danger, or to
procure for it whatever may be necessary. This is entirely apart from the
consciousness of the man himself, and it works equally well during the absence
of the ego from the physical body during sleep. All our instinctive movements
are due to it, and it is through its activity that the working of the
sympathetic system is carried on ceaselessly without any thought or knowledge on
our part.

While we are what we call awake, this physical elemental is
perpetually occupied in self-defence; he is in a condition of constant
vigilance, and he keeps the nerves and muscles always tense. During the night or
at any time when we sleep he lets the nerves and muscles relax, and devotes
himself specially to the assimilation of vitality and the recuperation of the
corps physique. He works at this most success­fully during the early part of the
night, because then there is plenty of vitality, whereas immediately before the
dawn the vitality which has been left behind by the sunlight is almost
completely exhausted. This is the reason for the feeling of limpness and
deadness associated with the small hours of the morning; this is also the reason
why sick men so frequently die at that particular time. The same idea is
embodied in the old proverb which says that an hour’s sleep before midnight is
worth two after it. The work of this physical elemental accounts for the strong
recuperative influence of sleep, which is often observable even when it is a
mere momentary nap.

This vitality is indeed the food of the etheric double, and
is just as necessary to it as is material sustenance to the grosser part of the
corps physique. Hence when the splenic centre is unable for any reason (as
through sickness, fatigue or extreme old age) to prepare vitality for the
nourishment of the cells of the body, this physical elemental endeavours to draw
in for his own use vitality which has already been prepared in the bodies of
others; and thus it happens  that we often find ourselves weak and exhausted
after sitting for a while with a person who is depleted of vitality, because he
has drawn the rose-coloured atoms away from us by suction before we were able to
extract their energy.

The vegetable kingdom also absorbs this vitality, but seems
in most cases to use only a small part of it. Many trees draw from it almost
exactly the same constituents as does the higher part of man’s etheric body, the
result being that when they have used what they require, the atoms which they
reject are precisely those charged with the rose-coloured light which is needed
for the cells of man's physical body. This is specially the case with such trees
as the pine and the eucalyptus; and consequently the very neighbour­hood of
these trees gives health and strength to those who are suffering from lack of
this part of the vital principle – those whom we call nervous people. Elles sont
nervous because the cells of their bodies are hungry, and the nervousness can
only be allayed by feeding them; and often the readiest way to do that is thus
to supply them from without with the special kind of vitality which they need.

THE ORANGE-RED RAY

(5) The orange-red ray flows to the base of the spine and
thence to the generative organs, with which one part of its functions is closely
connected. This ray appears to include not only the orange and the darker reds,
but also a certain amount of dark purple, as though the spectrum bent round in a
circle and the colours began over again at a lower octave.

COLOURS OF PRANAS

CHAKRAS ENTERED

COLOURS GIVEN IN S.D.

PRINCIPLES
REPRESENTED

Light blue

Gorge

Blue

Atma (auric
envelope)

Yellow

Cœur

Yellow

Buddhi

Dark blue

Brow

Indigo or dark blue

Higher manas

vert

Navel

vert

Kama manas – lower
esprit

Rose

Spleen

rouge

Kama rupa

Violet

Crown

Violet

Etheric double

Orange-red (with
another violet)

Root (afterwards crown)

TABLE III

In the normal man this ray energizes the desires of the
flesh, and also seems to enter the blood and help to keep up the heat of the
body; but if a man persistently refuses to yield to his lower nature, this ray
can by long and determined effort be deflected upwards to the brain, where all
three of its constituents undergo a remarkable modification. The orange is
raised into pure yellow, and produces a decided intensification of the powers of
the intellect; the dark red becomes crimson, and greatly increases the quality
of unselfish affection; while the dark purple is transmuted into a lovely pale
violet, and quickens the spiritual part of man’s nature. The man who achieves
this transmu­tation will find that sensual desires no longer trouble him, and
when it becomes necessary for him to arouse the higher layers of the
serpent-fire he will be free from the most serious of the dangers of that
processus. When a man has finally completed this change, this orange-red ray
passes straight into the centre at the  base of the spine, and from that runs
upwards along the hollow of the vertebral column, and so to the brain.

There seems to be a certain correspondence (Table III)
between the colours of the streams of prana flow to the several chakras and the
colours assigned by Madame Blavatsky to the principles of man in her diagram in
The Secret Doctrine, Vol. V,  p. 454, Fifth (Adyar) Edition.

THE FIVE PRANA VAYUS

In the Hindu books there is frequent reference to the five
principal Vayus or pranas. The Gheranda Samhita gives their
positions briefly as follows:

The prana moves always in the heart; the apana in the sphere
of the anus; the samana in the region of the navel; the udana in the throat; et
the vyana pervades the whole body.

Numerous other books give the same description, and say no
more about their functions, but some add a little more information, as follows:

The air called vyana carries the essential part in all the
nerves. Food, as soon as it is eaten, is split into two by that air. Ayant
entered near the anus it separates the solid and liquid portions; having placed
the water over the fire, and the solid over the water, the prana itself,
standing under the fire, inflames it slowly. The fire, inflamed by the air,
separates substance from the waste. The vyana air makes the essence go all over,
and the waste, forced through the twelve gateways, is ejected from the body.

The five airs as thus described seem to agree fairly well
with the five divisions of vitality which we have observed, as shown in Table
IV

PRANA VAYU AND REGION AFFECTED

RAY OF VITALITY

CHAKRA CHIEFLY AFFECTED

Prana; cœur

Yellow

Cardiac

Apana; anus

Orange-red

De base

Samana; nombril

vert

Umbilical

Udana; gorge

Violet-blue

Laryngeal

Vyana; the entire body

Rose

Splenic

TABLE IV

VITALITY AND HEALTH

The flow of vitality in these various currents regulates the
health of the parts of the body with which they are concerned. If a person is
suffering from a weak digestion, it manifests itself at once to any person
possessing etheric sight, because either the flow and action of the green stream
is sluggish or its amount is smaller in proportion than it should be. Où le
yellow current is full and strong, it indicates, or more properly produces,
strength and regularity in the action of the heart. Flowing round that centre,
it also interpenetrates the blood which is driven through it, and is sent along
with it all over the body. Yet there is enough of it left to extend into the
brain also, and the power of high philosophical and metaphysical thought appears
to depend to a great extent upon the volume and activity of this yellow stream,
and the corresponding awakening of the twelve­-petalled flower in the middle of
the force-centre at the top of the head.

Thought and emotion of a high spiritual type seem to depend
largely upon the violet ray, whereas the power of ordinary thought is stimulated
by the action of the blue mingled with part of the yellow. In some forms of
idiocy the flow of vitality to the brain, both yellow and blue-violet, is almost
entirely inhibited. Unusual activity or volume in the light blue which is
apportioned to the throat-centre is accompanied by the health and strength of
the physical organs in that part of the body. It gives strength and elasticity
to the vocal cords, so that special bril­liance and activity are noticeable in
the case of a public speaker or a great singer. Weakness or disease in any part
of the body is accompanied by a deficiency in the flow of vitality to that
partie.

THE FATE OF THE EMPTY
ATOMS

As the different streams of atoms do their work, the charge
of vitality is withdrawn from them, precisely as an electrical charge might be.
The atoms bearing the rose-coloured ray grow gradually paler as they are swept
along the nerves, and are eventually thrown out from the body through the pores
– making thus what was called in Man Visible and Invisible the
health-­aura. By the time that they leave the body most of them have lost the
rose-coloured light, so that the general appearance of the emanation is
bluish-white. That part of the yellow ray which is absorbed into the blood and
carried round with it loses its distinctive colour in just the same way.

The atoms, when thus emptied of their charge of vitality,
either enter into some of the combinations which are constantly being made in
the body, or pass out of it through the pores, or through the ordinary channels.
The emptied atoms of the green ray, which is connected chiefly with digestive
processes, seem to form part of the ordinary waste material of the body, and to
pass out along with it, and that is also the fate of the atoms of the red-orange
ray in the case of the ordinary man. The atoms belonging to the blue rays, which
are used in connection with the throat-centre, generally leave the body in the
exhalations of the breath; and those which compose the dark blue and violet rays
usually pass out from the centre at the top of the head.

When the student has learnt to deflect the orange-­red rays
so that they also move up through the spine, the empty atoms of both these and
the violet-blue rays pour out from the top of the head in a fiery cascade which,
as we have already seen in Fig. 2, is frequently imaged as a flame in ancient
statues of the Lord Buddha and other great saints. These atoms are thus used
again as physical vehicles for some of the glorious and beneficent forces which
highly­ evolved men radiate from that crown chakra.

When empty of the vital force the atoms are once more
precisely like any other atoms, except that they have evolved somewhat through
the use that has been made of them. The body absorbs such of them as it needs,
so that they form part of the various combi­nations which are constantly being
made, while others which are not required for such purposes are cast out through
any channel that happens to be convenient.

The flow of vitality into or through any centre, or even its
intensification, must not be confused with the entirely different development of
the centre which is brought about by the awakening of the higher levels of the
serpent-fire at a later stage in man’s evolution, with which we shall deal in
the next chapter. We all draw in vitality and specialize it, but many of us do
not utilize it to the full, because in various ways our lives are not as pure
and healthy and reason­able as they should be. One who coarsens his body by the
use of meat, alcohol or tobacco can never employ his vitality to the full in the
same way as can a man of purer living. A particular individual of impure life
may be, and often is, stronger in the physical body than certain other men who
are purer; that is a matter of their respective karma; but other things being
equal, the man of pure life has an immense advantage.

All the colours of this order of vitality are etheric, yet it
will be seen that their action presents certain correspondences with the
signification attached to similar hues in the astral body. Clearly, right
thought and right feeling react upon the physical body and increase its power to
assimilate the vitality which is necessary for its well-being. It is reported
that the Lord Buddha once said that the first step on the road to Nirvana is
perfect physical health; and assuredly the way to attain that is to follow the
Noble Eightfold Path which he has indicated. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” – yes, even
physical health as well.

VITALITY AND MAGNETISM

The vitality coursing along the nerves must not be confused
with what we usually call the magnetism of the man – his own nerve-fluid,
specialized within the spine, and composed of the primary life-force
inter­mingled with the kundalini. It is this fluid which keeps up the constant
circulation of etheric matter along the nerves, corresponding to the circulation
of blood through the arteries and veins; and as oxygen is con­veyed by the blood
to all parts of the body, so vitality is conveyed along the nerves by this
etheric current. The particles of the etheric part of man’s body are constantly
changing, just as are those of the denser part; along with the food which we eat
and the air which we breathe we take in etheric matter, and this is assimilated
by the etheric part of the body. Etheric matter is constantly being thrown off
from the pores, just as is gaseous matter, so that when two persons are close
together each necessarily absorbs much of the physical emanations of the other.

When one person mesmerizes another, the operator by an effort
of will gathers together a great deal of this magnetism and throws it into the
subject, pushing back his victim’s nerve-fluid, and filling its place with his
posséder. As the brain is the centre of this nervous circulation, this brings that
part of the subject’s body which is affected under the control of the
manipulator’s brain instead of the victim’s and so the latter feels what the
mesmerist wishes him to feel. If the reci­pient’s brain be emptied of his own
magnetism and filled with that of the performer, the former can think and act
only as the latter wills that he should think and act; he is for the time
entirely dominated.

Even when the magnetizer is trying to cure, and is pouring
strength into the man, he inevitably gives along with the vitality much of his
own emanations. It is obvious that any disease which the mesmerizer happens to
have may readily be conveyed to the subject in this way; and another even more
important considera­tion is that, though his health may be perfect from the
medical point of view, there are mental and moral diseases as well as physical,
and that, as astral and mental matter are thrown into the subject by the
mesmerist along with the physical current, these also are frequently
transferred.

Nevertheless, a man who is pure in thought and filled with
the earnest desire to help his fellows may often do much by mesmerism to relieve
suffering, if he will take the trouble to study this subject of the currents
which enter the body through the chakras and flow along the nerves. Qu'Est-ce que c'est
that the mes­merist pours into his subject? It may be either the nerve-ether or
the vitality, or both. Supposing a patient to be seriously weakened or
exhausted, so that he has lost the power to specialize the life-fluid for
himself, the mesmerist may renew his stock by pouring some of his own upon the
quivering nerves, and so produce a rapid recovery. The process is analogous to
what is often done in the case of food. When a person reaches a certain stage of
weakness the stomach loses the power to digest, and so the body is not properly
nourished, and the feebleness is thereby increased. The remedy adopted in that
case is to present to the stomach food already partially digested by means of
pepsin or other similar preparations; this can probably be assimilated, and thus
strength is gained. Just so, a man who is unable to specialize for himself may
still absorb what has been already prepared by another, and so gain strength to
make an effort to resume the normal action of the etheric organs. In many cases
of debility that is all that is needed.

There are other instances in which congestion of some kind
has taken place, the vital fluid has not circulated properly, and the nerve-aura
is sluggish and unhealthy. Then the obvious course of proceed­ing is to replace
it by healthy nerve-ether from with­out; but there are several ways in which
this may be done. Some magnetizers simply employ brute force, and steadily pour
in resistless floods of their own ether in the hope of washing away that which
needs removal. Success may be attained along these lines, though with the
expenditure of a good deal more energy than is necessary. A more scientific
method is that which goes to work somewhat more quietly, and first with­draws
the congested or diseased matter, and then replaces it by healthier nerve-ether,
thus gradually stimulating the sluggish current into activity. If the patient
has a headache, for example, there will almost certainly be a congestion of
noxious ether about some part of his brain, and the first step is to draw that
une façon.

How is this to be managed? Just in the same way as the
out-pouring of strength is managed – by an exercise of the will. We must not
forget that these finer subdivisions of matter are readily moulded or affected
by the action of the human will. The mes­merist may make passes, but they are at
the most nothing but the pointing of his gun in a certain direction, while his
will is the powder that moves the ball and pro­duces the result, the fluid being
the shot sent out. A mesmerizer who understands his business can manage as well
without passes if he wishes; I have known one who never employed them, but
simply looked at his subject. The only use of the hand is to concentrate the
fluid, and perhaps to help the imagination of the operator; for to will strongly
he must believe firmly, and the action no doubt makes it easier for him to
realize what he is doing.

Just as a man may pour out magnetism by an effort of will, so
may he draw it away by an effort of will; and in this case also he may often use
a gesture of the hands to help him. In dealing with the head­ache, he would
probably lay his hands upon the fore­head of the patient, and think of them as
sponges steadily drawing out the deleterious magnetism from the brain. That he
is actually producing the result of which he thinks, he will be very likely soon
to  discover, for unless he takes precautions to cast off the bad magnetism
which he is absorbing, he will either himself feel the headache or begin to
suffer from a pain in the arm and hand with which the operation is being
performed. He is actually drawing into himself diseased matter, and it is
necessary for his comfort and well-being that he should dispose of it before it
obtains a permanent lodgment in his body.

He should therefore adopt some definite plan to get rid of
it, and the simplest is just to throw it away, to shake it from the hands as one
would shake water. Although he does not see it, the matter which he has
withdrawn is physical, and we can deal with it by physical means. Il est
therefore necessary that he should not neglect these precautions, and that he
should not forget to wash his hands carefully after curing a headache or any
malady of that nature. Then, after he has removed the cause of the evil, he
proceeds to pour in good strong healthy magnetism to take its place, and to
protect the patient against the return of the disease. One can see that in the
case of any nervous affection this method would have manifold advantages. Dans
most of such cases what is wrong is an irregularity of the fluids which course
along the nerves; either they are congested, or they are sluggish in their flow,
or on the other hand they may be too rapid; they may be deficient in quantity,
or poor in quality. If we administer drugs of any sort, at the best we can act
only upon the physical nerve, and through it to some limited extent upon the
fluids surrounding it; whereas mesmerism acts directly upon the fluids
themselves, and so goes straight to the root of the evil.

CHAPTER IV

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE
CHAKRAS

THE FUNCTIONS OF THE
AWAKENED CENTRES

BESIDES keeping alive the physical vehicle, the
force­-centres have another function, which comes into play only when they are
awakened into full activity. Each of the etheric centres corresponds to an
astral centre, though as the astral centre is a vortex in four dimensions it has
an extension in a direction quite different from the etheric, and consequently
is by no means always co-terminous with it, though some part is always
coincident. The etheric vortex is always on the surface of the etheric body, but
the astral centre is frequently quite in the interior of that vehicle.

The function of each of the etheric centres when fully
aroused is to bring down into physical conscious­ness whatever may be the
quality inherent in the astral centre which corresponds to it; so, before
cataloguing the results to be obtained by arousing the etheric centres into
activity, it may be well to consider what is done by each of the astral centres,
although these latter are already in full activity in all cultured people of
later races. What effect, then, has the quickening of each of these astral
centres produced in the astral body?

THE ASTRAL CENTRES

The first of these centres, as has already been explained, is
the home of the serpent-fire. This force exists on all planes and by its
activity the rest of the centres are aroused. We must think of the astral body
as having been originally an almost inert mass, with nothing but the vaguest
consciousness, with no definite power of doing anything, and no clear knowl­edge
of the world which surrounded it. The first thing that happened, then, was the
awakening of that force in the man at the astral level. When awakened it moved
on to the second centre, corresponding to the physical spleen, and through it
vitalized the whole astral body enabling the person to travel consciously,
though with only a vague conception as yet of what lie encountered on his
journeys.

Then it moved on to the third, that corresponding to the
navel, and vivified it, thereby awakening in the astral body the power of
feeling-a sensitiveness to all sorts of influences, though without as yet
anything like the definite comprehension that comes from seeing or hearing.

The fourth centre, when awakened, endowed the man with the
power to comprehend and sympathize with the vibrations of other astral entities,
so that he could instinctively understand something of their feelings.

The awakening of the fifth, that corresponding to the throat,
gave him the power of hearing on the astral plane; that is to say, it caused the
development of that sense which in the astral world produces on our
consciousness the effect which on the physical plane we call hearing.

The development of the sixth, that corresponding to the
centre between the eyebrows, in a similar manner produced astral sight – the
power to perceive definitely the shape and nature of astral objects, instead of
vaguely sensing their presence.

The arousing of the seventh, that corresponding to the top of
the head, rounded off and completed for him the astral life, and endowed him
with the perfection of its faculties.

With regard to this centre a certain difference seems to
exist, according to the type to which men belong. For many of us the astral
vortices corres­ponding to the sixth and seventh of these centres both converge
upon the pituitary body, and for those people the pituitary body (Fig. 8) is
practically the only direct link between the physical and the higher planes. 
Another type of people, however, while still attaching the sixth centre to the
pituitary body, bend or slant the seventh until its vortex coincides with the
atrophied organ called the pineal gland (Fig. 8), which is by people of that
type vivified and made into a line of communication directly with the lower
mental, without apparently passing through the intermediate astral plane in the
ordinary way. It was for this type that Madame Blavatsky was writing when she
laid such emphasis upon the awakening of that organ. Dr. Besant also mentions
this fact that the starting-point of development begins at different levels with
different persons, in the following passage from A Study in Consciousness:

The building of the centres and the gradual organization of
them into wheels, can be begun from any vehicle, and will be begun in any
individual from that vehicle which represents the special type of temperament to
which he belongs. According as a man belongs to one typical temperament or
another, so will be the place of the greatest activity in the building up of all
the vehicles, in the gradual making of them into effective instruments of
con­sciousness to be expressed on the physical plane. This centre of activity
may be in the physical, astral, lower, or higher mental body. In any of these,
or even higher still, according to the tempera­mental type, this centre will be
found in the principle which marks out the temperamental type, and from that it
works “upwards” or “downwards”, shaping the vehicles so as to make them suitable
for the expression of that temperament.

ASTRAL SENSES

Thus these centres to some extent take the place of
sense-organs for the astral body; yet without pro­per qualification that
expression would be decidedly misleading, for it must never be forgotten that
though, in order to make ourselves intelligible, we constantly have to speak of
astral seeing or astral hearing, all that we really mean by those expressions is
the faculty of responding to such vibrations as convey to the man’s
consciousness, when he is functioning in his astral body, information of the
same character as that conveyed to him by his eyes and ears while he is in the
corps physique.

But in the entirely different astral conditions specialized
organs are not necessary for the attainment of this result. There is matter in
every part of the astral body which is capable of such response, and
consequently the man functioning in that vehicle sees equally well the objects
behind him, above him, and beneath him, without needing to turn his head. le
centres, therefore, cannot be described as organs in the ordinary sense of the
word, since it is not through them that the man sees or hears, as he does here
through the eyes and ears. Yet it is upon their vivification that the power of
exercising these astral senses depends, each of them as it is developed giving
to the whole astral body the power of response to a new set of vibra­tions.

As all the particles of the astral body are constantly
flowing and swirling about like those of boiling water, all of them in turn pass
through each of the centres or vortices, so that each centre in its turn evokes
in all the particles of the body the power of receptivity to a certain set of
vibrations, and so all the astral senses are equally active in all parts of the
corps. But even when these astral senses are fully awakened it by no means
follows that the man will be able to bring through into his physical body any
consciousness of their action.

THE AROUSING OF
KUNDALINI

While all this astral awakening was taking place, then, the
man in his physical consciousness knew nothing whatever of it. The only way in
which the dense body can be brought to share all these advantages is by
repeating that process of awakening with the etheric centres. That may be
achieved in various ways, according to the school of yoga which the student is
practising.

Seven schools of yoga are recognized in India: 1. Raja Yoga;
2. Karma Yoga; 3. Jnana Yoga; 4. Hatha Yoga; 5. Laya Yoga; 6. Bhakti Yoga; 7.
Mantra Yoga. I have given some account of them in the second edition of The
Masters and the Path, and Professor Wood has described them fully in his
book Raja Yoga; the Occult Training of the Hindus. They all recognize the
existence and the importance of the chakras, and each has its own method of
developing them. The plan of the Raja Yogi is to meditate upon each in turn and
bring them into activity by sheer force of will – a scheme which has much to
recommend it. The school which pays most attention to them is that of Laya Yoga,
and its system is to arouse the higher potentialities of the serpent-fire, and
force it through the centres one by one.

That arousing needs a determined and a long continued effort
of the will, for to bring that first chakra into full activity is precisely to
awaken the inner layers of the serpent-fire. When once that is aroused, it is by
its tremendous force that the other centres are vivified. Its effect on the
other etheric wheels is to bring into the physical consciousness the powers
which were aroused by the development of their corresponding astral chakras.

THE AWAKENING OF THE
ETHERIC CHAKRAS

When the second of the etheric centres, that at the spleen,
is awakened, the man is enabled to remember his vague astral journeys, though
sometimes only very partially. The effect of a slight and accidental stimulation
of this centre is often to produce half-remembrance of a blissful sensation of
flying through the air.

When the third centre, that at the navel, comes into
activity, the man begins in the physical body to be conscious of all kinds of
astral influences, vaguely feeling that some of them are friendly and others
hostile, or that some places are pleasant and others unpleasant, without in the
least knowing why.

Stimulation of the fourth, that at the heart, makes the man
instinctively aware of the joys and sorrows of others, and sometimes even causes
him to reproduce in himself by sympathy their physical aches and pains.

The arousing of the fifth, that at the throat, enables him to
hear voices, which sometimes make all kinds of suggestions to him. Également
sometimes he hears music, or other less pleasant sounds. When it is fully
working it makes the man clairaudient as far as the etheric and astral planes
are concerned.

When the sixth, between the eyebrows, becomes vivified, the
man begins to see things, to have various sorts of waking visions, sometimes of
places, sometimes of people. In its earlier development, when it is only just
beginning to be awakened, it often means nothing more than half-seeing
landscapes and clouds of colour. The full arousing of this brings about
clairvoyance.

The centre between the eyebrows is connected with sight in
yet another way. It is through it that the power of magnification of minute
physical objects is exercised. A tiny flexible tube of etheric matter is
projected from the centre of it, resembling a micros­copic snake with something
like an eye at the end of it. This is the special organ used in that form of
clair­voyance, and the eye at the end of it can be expanded or contracted, the
effect being to change the power of magnification according to the size of the
object which is being examined. This is what is meant in ancient books when
mention is made of the capacity to make oneself large or small at will. À
examine an atom one develops an organ of vision commen­surate in size with the
atom. This little snake pro­jecting from the centre of the forehead was
symbolized upon the head-dress of the Pharaoh of Egypt, who as the chief priest
of his country was supposed to possess this among many other occult powers.

When the seventh centre is quickened, the man is able by
passing through it to leave his body in full consciousness, and also to return
to it without the usual break, so that his consciousness will be continuous
through night and day. When the fire has been passed through all these centres
in a certain order (which varies for different types of people) the
con­sciousness becomes continuous up to the entry into the heaven-world at the
end of the life on the astral plane, no difference being made by either the
temporary separation from the physical body during sleep or the permanent
division at death.

CASUAL CLAIRVOYANCE

Before this is done, however, the man may have many glimpses
of the astral world, for specially strong vibrations may at any time galvanize
one or other of the chakras into temporary activity, without arousing the
serpent-fire at all; or it may happen that the fire may be partially roused, and
in this way also spasmodic clairvoyance may be produced for the time. For this
fire exists, as we have said, in seven layers or seven degrees of force, and it
often happens that a man who exerts his will in the effort to arouse it may
succeed in affecting one layer only, and so when he thinks that he has done the
work he may find it ineffective, and may have to do it all over again many
times, digging gradually deeper and deeper, until not only the surface is
stirred but the very heart of the fire is in full activity.

THE DANGER OF PREMATURE
AWAKENING

This fiery power, as it is called in The Voice of the
Silence, is in very truth like liquid fire as it rushes through the body
when it has been aroused by the will; and the course through which it ought to
move is spiral like the coils of a serpent. In its awakened state it may be
called the World’s Mother in another sense than that already mentioned, because
through it our various vehicles may be vivified, so that the higher worlds may
open before us in succession.

For the ordinary person it lies at the base of the spine
un-awakened, and its very presence unsuspected, during the whole of his life;
and it is indeed far better to allow it thus to remain dormant until the man has
made definite moral development, until his will is strong enough to control it
and his thoughts pure enough to enable him to face its awakening without injury.
No one should experiment with it without definite instruction from a teacher who
thoroughly understands the subject, for the dangers connected with it are very
real and terribly serious. Some of them are purely physical. Its uncontrolled
movement often produces intense physical pain, and it may readily tear tissues
and even destroy physical life. This, however, is the least of the evils of
which it is capable, for it may do permanent injury to vehicles higher than the
physique.

One very common effect of rousing it prematurely is that it
rushes downwards in the body instead of upwards, and thus excites the most
undesirable pas­sions – excites them and intensifies their effects to such a
degree that it becomes impossible for the man to resist them, because a force
has been brought into play in whose presence he is as helpless as a swimmer
before the jaws of a shark. Such men become satyrs, monsters of depravity,
because they are in the grasp of a force which is out of all proportion to the
ordinary human power of resistance. They may probably gain certain supernormal
powers, but these will be such as will bring them into touch with a lower order
of evolution with which humanity is intended to hold no commerce, and to escape
from its awful thraldom may take them more than one incarnation.

I am not in any way exaggerating the horror of this thing, as
a person to whom it was all a matter of hearsay might unwittingly do. j'ai
myself been consulted by people upon whom this awful fate has already come, and
I have seen with my own eyes what happened to them. There is a school of black
magic which purposely utilizes this power for such purposes,  in order that
through it may be vivified a certain lower force-centre which is never used in
that way by the followers of the Good Law. Some writers deny the existence of
such a centre; but Brahmanas of Southern India assure me that there are certain
yogis who teach their pupils to use it – though of course not necessarily with
evil intent. Still, the risk is too great to be worth taking when one can
achieve the same results in a safer way.

Even apart from this greatest of its dangers, the premature
unfoldment of the higher aspects of kundalini has many other unpleasant
possibilités. It intensifies everything in the man’s nature, and it reaches the
lower and evil qualities more readily than the good. In the mental body, for
example, ambition is very quickly aroused, and soon swells to an incredibly
inordinate degree. It would be likely to bring with it a great intensification
of the power of intellect, but at the same time it would produce abnormal and
satanic pride, such as is quite inconceivable to the ordinary man. Ce n'est pas
wise for a man to think that he is prepared to cope with any force that may
arise within his body; this is no ordinary energy, but some­thing resistless.
Assuredly no uninstructed man should ever try to awaken it, and if such an one
finds that it has been aroused by accident he should at once consult some one
who fully understands these matters.

I am specially refraining from any explanation as to how this
arousing is to be done, nor do I mention the order in which the force (when
aroused) should be passed through these various centres, for that should by
no means be attempted except at the express suggestion of a Master, who will
watch over His pupils during the various stages of the experiment.

I should like most solemnly to warn all students against
making any effort whatever in the direction of awakening these tremendous
forces, except under such qualified tuition, for I have myself seen many cases
of the terrible effects which follow from ignorant and ill-advised meddling with
these very serious matters. The force is a tremendous reality, one of the great
basic facts of nature, and most emphatically it is not a thing with which to
play, not a matter to be lightly taken in hand, for to experiment with it
without understanding it is far more dangerous than it would be for a child to
play with nitroglycerine. As is very truly said in The Hathayoga Pradipika:
“It gives liberation to yogis and bondage to fools” (III, 107.).

In matters such as these, students so often seem to think
that some special exception to the laws of nature will be made in their case,
that some special intervention of providence will save them from the
consequences of their folly. Assuredly nothing of that sort will happen, and the
man who wantonly provokes an explosion is quite likely to become its first
victim. It would save much trouble and dis­appointment if students could be
induced to understand that in all matters connected with occultism we mean just
exactly and literally what we say, and that it is applicable in every case
without exception. For there is no such thing as favouritism in the working of
the great laws of the universe.

Everybody wants to try all possible experiments; tout le monde est
convinced that he is quite ready for the highest possible teaching and for any
sort of develop­ment, and no one is willing to work patiently along at the
improvement of character, and to devote his time and his energies to doing
something useful for the work of The Society, waiting for all these other things
until a Master shall announce that he is ready for them. As I have already said
in the previous chapter in another connection, the old aphorism still remains
true: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these
things shall be added unto you.”

THE SPONTANEOUS
AWAKENING OF KUNDALINI

There are some cases in which the inner layers of this fire
awaken spontaneously, so that a dull glow is felt; it may even begin to move of
itself, though this is rare. When this happens, it may cause great pain, as,
since the passages are not prepared for it, it would have to clear its way by
actually burning up ­a great deal of etheric dross – a process that cannot but
engender suffering. When it thus awakes of itself or is accidentally aroused, it
usually tries to pass up the interior of the spine, following the course already
taken by its lowest and gentlest manifestation. If it be possible, the will
should be set in motion to arrest its upward movement, but if that proves to be
impos­sible (as is most likely) no alarm need be felt. It will probably flash
out through the head and escape into the surrounding atmosphere, and it is
likely that no harm will result beyond a slight weakening. Nothing worse than a
temporary loss of consciousness need be apprehended. The really appalling
dangers are connected not with its upward rush, but with the possibility of its
turning downwards and inwards.

Its principal function in connection with occult development
is that, by being sent through the force-­centres in the etheric body, as above
described, it quickens these chakras and makes them more fully available as
gates of connection between the physical and astral bodies. It is said in The
Voice of the Silence that when the serpent-fire reaches the centre between
the eyebrows and fully vivifies it, it confers the power of hearing the voice of
the Master – which means in this case the voice of the ego or higher self. le
reason for this statement is that when the pituitary body is brought into
working order it forms a perfect link with the astral vehicle, so that through
it all com­munications from within can be received.

It is not only this chakra; all the higher force-­centres
have presently to be awakened, and each must be made responsive to all kinds of
influences from the various astral sub-planes. This development will come to all
in due course, but most people cannot gain it during the present incarnation, if
it is the first in which they have begun to take these matters seriously in
main. Some Indians might succeed in doing so, as their bodies are by heredity
more adaptable than most others; but it is really for the majority the work of a
later Round altogether. The conquest of the serpent-­fire has to be repeated in
each incarnation, since the  vehicles are new each time, but after it has been
once thoroughly achieved these repetitions will be an easy matter. It must be
remembered that its action varies with different types of people; some, for
example, would see the higher self rather than hear its voice. Again, this
connection with the higher has many stages; for the personality it means the
influence of the ego, but for the ego himself it means the power of the Monad,
and for the Monad in turn it means to become a conscious expression of the
Logos.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

It may be of use if I mention my own experience in this
matière. In the earlier part of my residence in India forty-two years ago I made
no effort to rouse the fire – not indeed knowing very much about it, and having
the opinion that, in order to do anything with it, it was necessary to be born
with a specially psychic body, which I did not possess. But one day one of the
Masters made a suggestion to me with regard to a certain kind of meditation
which would evoke this force. Naturally I at once put the sug­gestion into
practice, and in course of time was suc­cessful. I have no doubt, however, that
He watched the experiment, and would have checked me if it had become dangerous.
I am told that there are Indian ascetics who teach this to their pupils, of
course keeping them under careful supervision during the process. But I do not
myself know of any such, nor should I have confidence in them unless they were
specially recommended by some one whom I knew to be possessed of real knowledge.

People often ask me what I advise them to do with regard to
the arousing of this force. I advise them to do exactly what I myself did. je
recommend  them to throw themselves into Theosophical work and wait until they
receive a definite command from some Master who will undertake to superintend
their psychic development, continuing in the meantime all the ordinary exercises
of meditation that are known to them. They should not care in the least whether
such development comes in this incarnation or in the next, but should regard the
matter from the point of view of the ego and not of the personality, feeling
absolutely certain that the Masters are always watching for those whom They can
help, that it is entirely impossible for anyone to be overlooked, and that They
will unquestionably give Their directions when They think that the right time
has come.

I have never heard that there is any sort of age limit with
regard to the development, and I do not see that age should make any difference,
so long as one has perfect health; but the health is a necessity, for only a
strong body can endure the strain, which is much more serious than anyone who
has not made the attempt can possibly imagine.

The force when aroused must be very strictly controlled, and
it must be moved through the centres in an order which differs for people of
different types. The movement also, to be effective, must be made in a
particular way, which the Master will explain when the time comes.

THE ETHERIC WEB

I have said that the astral and etheric centres are in very
close correspondence; but between them, and interpenetrating them in a manner
not readily describable, is a sheath or web of closely woven texture, a sheath
composed of a single layer of physical atoms much compressed and permeated by a
special form of vital force. The divine life which normally descends from the
astral body to the physical is so attuned as to pass through this with perfect
ease, but it is an absolute barrier to all other forces – all which cannot use
the atomic matter of both the planes. This web is the protection provided by
nature to prevent a premature opening up of communication between the planes – a
development which could lead to nothing but injury.

It is this which under normal conditions prevents clear
recollection of what has happened during sleep, and it is this also which causes
the momentary uncon­sciousness which always occurs at death. But for this
merciful provision the ordinary man, who knows  nothing about all these things
and is entirely unpre­pared to meet them, could at any moment be brought by any
astral entity under the influence of forces to cope with which would be entirely
beyond his strength. He would be liable to constant obsession by any being on
the astral plane who desired to seize upon his vehicles.

It will therefore be readily understood that any injury to
this web is a serious disaster. There are several ways in which injury may come,
and it behoves us to use our best endeavours to guard against it. It may come
either by accident or by continued mal­practice. Any great shock to the astral
body, such for example as a sudden terrible fright, may rend apart this delicate
organism and, as it is commonly expressed, drive the man mad. (Of course there
are other ways in which fear may cause insanity, but this is one.) A tremendous
outburst of anger may also produce the same effect. Indeed it may follow upon
any exceedingly strong emotion of an evil character which produces a kind of
explosion in the astral body.

THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
AND DRUGS

The malpractices which may more gradually injure this
protective web are of two classes – use of alcohol or narcotic drugs, and the
deliberate endeavour to throw open the doors which nature has kept closed, by
means of such a process as is described in spiritualistic parlance as sitting
for development. Certain drugs and drinks – notably alcohol and all the
nar­cotics, including tobacco – contain matter which on breaking up volatilizes,
and some of it passes from the physical plane to the astral. (Even tea and
coffee contain this matter, but in quantities so infinitesimal that it is
usually only after long-continued abuse of them that the effect manifests
itself.)

When this takes place in the body of man these constituents
rush out through the chakras in the opposite direction to that for which they
are intended, and in doing this repeatedly they seriously injure and finally
destroy the delicate web. This deterioration or destruction may be brought about
in two different ways, according to the type of the person concerned and to the
proportion of the constituents in his etheric and astral bodies. First, the rush
of volatilizing matter actually burns away the web, and therefore leaves the
door open to all sorts of irregular forces and evil influences.

The second result is that these volatile consti­tuents, in
flowing through, somehow harden the atom, so that its pulsation is to a large
extent checked and crippled, and it is no longer capable of being vitalized by
the particular type of force which welds it into a web. The result of this is a
kind of ossification of the web, so that instead of having too much coming
through from one plane to the other, we have very little of any kind coming
through.

We may see the effects
of both these types of deterioration in the case of men who yield themselves to
drunkenness. Some of those who are affected in the former way fall into delirium
tremens, obsession or insanity; but those are after all comparatively rare. Far
more common is the second type of deterioration ­the case in which we have a
kind of general deadening down of the man’s qualities, resulting in gross
material­ism, brutality and animalism, in the loss of all finer feelings and of
the power to control himself. He no longer feels any sense of responsibility; il
may love his wife and children when sober, but when the fit of drunkenness comes
upon him he will use the money which should have brought bread for them to
satisfy his own bestial cravings, the affection and the responsi­bility having
apparently entirely disappeared.

THE EFFECT OF TOBACCO

The second type of effect is very commonly to be seen among
those who are slaves of the tobacco habit. Its effects are obvious in the
physical, astral and mental bodies.

It permeates the man physically with exceedingly impure
particles, causing emanations so grossly material that they are frequently
perceptible to the sense of smell. Astrally it not only introduces inpurity but
it also tends to deaden many of the vibrations, and it is for this reason that
it is found to “soothe the nerves”, as it is called. But of course for occult
progress we do not want the vibrations deadened, nor the astral body weighed
down with poisonous particles. We need the capacity of answering instantly to
all possible wave-lengths, and yet at the same time we must have perfect
control, so that our desires shall be as horses guided by the intelligent mind
to draw us where we will, not to run away with us wildly, as does the tobacco
habit, and carry us into situations where our higher nature knows that it ought
never to be found. Its results after death are also of the most distressing
character; it causes a sort of ossification and paralysis of the astral body, so
that for a long time (extending to weeks and months) the man remains helpless,
supine, scarcely conscious, shut up as though in a prison, unable to communicate
with his friends, dead for the time to all higher influences. Is it worth while
incurring all these penalties for the sake of a petty indulgence? For any person
who really means to develop his vehicles, to awaken his chakras, to make
progress along the path of holiness, tobacco is un­doubtedly to be sedulously
avoided.

All impressions which pass from one plane to the other are
intended to come only through the atomic sub-planes, as I have said; mais quand
this deaden­ing process sets in, it presently infects not only other atomic
matter, but matter of even the second and third sub-planes, so that the only
communication between the astral and the etheric is when some force  acting on
the lower sub-planes (upon which only unpleasant and evil influences are to be
found) happens to be strong enough to compel a response by the violence of its
vibration.

THE OPENING OF THE
DOORS

Nevertheless, though nature takes such precautions to guard
these centres, she by no means intends that they shall always be kept rigidly
fermé. There is a proper way in which they may be opened. Perhaps it would be
more correct to say that the intention is not that the doors should be opened
any wider than their present position, but that the man should so develop
himself that he can bring a great deal more through the recognized channel.

The consciousness of the ordinary man cannot yet use pure
atomic matter either in the physical body or in the astral, and therefore there
is normally no possibility for him of conscious communication at will between
the two planes. The proper way to obtain that is to purify both the vehicles
until the atomic matter in both is fully vitalized, so that all communica­tions
between the two may be able to pass by that road. In that case the web retains
to the fullest degree its  position and activity, and yet is no longer a barrier
to the perfect communication, while it still continues to fulfil its purpose of
preventing the close contact between lower sub-planes which would permit all
sorts of undesirable influences to pass through.

That is why we are always adjured to wait for the unfolding
of psychic powers until they come in the natural course of events as a
consequence of the development of character, as we see from the study of these
force-centres that they surely will. That is the natural evolution; C'est le
only really safe way, for by it the student obtains all the benefits and avoids
all the dangers. That is the Path which our Masters have trodden in the past;
that therefore is the Path for us today.

CHAPTER V

THE LAYA YOGA

THE HINDU BOOKS

IT is nearly twenty years since I wrote the major part of the
information about the chakras which appears in the preceding pages, and I had at
that time but a very slight acquaintance with the extensive literature which
exists on the subject in the Sanskrit language. Since then, however, several
important works on the chakras have become available in English, among which are
The Serpent Power (which is a transla­tion by Arthur Avalon of The
Shatchakara Nirupana), Thirty Minor Upanishads, translated by K.
Narayana­swami Aiyar, and The Shiva Samhita, translated by Sris Chandra
Vidyarnava. These works deal extensively with the special subject of chakras,
but there are many others which touch upon the centres in a more casual way.
Avalon’s book gives us an excellent series of coloured illustrations of all the
chakras, in the symboli­cal form in which they are always drawn by the Hindu
yogis. This department of Hindu science is gradually becoming known in the West;
for the benefit of my readers I will attempt to give a very brief outline of it
ici.

THE INDIAN LIST OF
CHAKRAS

The chakras mentioned in these Sanskrit books are the same as
those which we see today, except that as I have already said, they always
substitute their Svadhishthana centre for that at the spleen. They differ
slightly among themselves as to the number of petals, but on the whole they
agree with us, though for some reason they do not include the centre at the top
of head, confining themselves to six chakras only, and calling the centre the
Sahasrara Padma – the lotus of a thousand petals. The smaller chakra of twelve
petals within this crown centre was observed by them, and is duly noted. Ils
speak of two petals instead of ninety-six in the sixth chakra, but they refer no
doubt to the two divisions of the disc of that centre, mentioned in Chapter I.

The discrepancies as to the number of petals are not
important; for example, The Yoga Kundalini Upanishad speaks of sixteen
petals in the heart chakra instead of twelve, and The Dhyanabindu Upanishad
and The Shandilya Upanishad both mention twelve spokes instead of ten
in the navel chakra. A number of works also refer to another chakra that is
below the heart, and to several centres between the brow chakra and the crown
lotus, all as being of great importance. The Dhyanabindu Upanishad says
that the lotus of the heart has eight petals, but its descrip­tion of the use of
that chakra in meditation indicates (as we shall see later) that it is probably
referring to the secondary heart chakra to which I have just referred. dans le
matter of the colours of the petals there are also some disagreements, as will
be seen from table V, comparing some of the principal works with our own list.

Ce n'est pas
surprising that such differences as these should be on record, for there are
unquestionably variants in the chakras of different people and races, as well as
in the faculties of observers. What we have recorded in Chapter I is the result
of careful observation on the part of a number of Western students, who have
taken every precaution to compare notes and to verify what they have seen.

COLOURS OF LOTUS PETALS

CHAKRA

OUR OBSERVATIONS

SHATCHAKRA NIRUPANA

SHIVA SAMHITA

GARUDA PURANA

1

Fiery orange-red

rouge

rouge

2

Glowing, sunlike

Vermilion

Vermilion

Sunlike

3

Various reds and greens

Blue

Golden

rouge

4

Golden

Vermilion

Deep red

Golden

5

Blue, silvery, gleaming

Smoky purple

Brilliant gold

Moonlike

6

Yellow and purple

blanc

blanc

rouge

TABLE V

The drawings of the chakras made by the Hindu yogis for the
use of their pupils are always symbolical, and bear no relation to the actual
appearance of the chakra, except that an attempt is usually made to indicate the
colour and the number of petals. In the centre of each such drawing we shall
find a geo­metrical form, a letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, an animal, and two
deities, one male and the other female. We give in Fig. 9 a reproduction of the
drawing of the heart chakra, borrowed from Arthur Avalon’s The Serpent Power.
We shall endeavour to explain what is understood by the various symbols.

THE FIGURES OF THE
CHAKRAS

The object of Laya or Kundalini Yoga is the same as that of
every other form of Indian yoga, to unite the soul with God; et pour cela
purpose it is always necessary to make three kinds of efforts – those of love,
of thought and of action. Though in a partic­ular school of yoga the will must
be especially used (as is the case in the teaching of The Yoga Sutras), 
and in another great love is chiefly prescribed (as in  the instruction given by
Shri Krishna to Arjuna in The Bhagavad Gita), still it is always
proclaimed that attainments must be made in all three directions. Thus Patanjali
propounds for the candidate at the beginning a course of tapas or
purificatory effort, svadhyaya or study of spiritual things, and
Ishvara pranidhana, or devotion to God at all times. Shri Krishna,
similarly, after explaining to His pupil that wisdom is the most valuable
instrument of service, the greatest offering that one can make, adds that it may
be learnt only by devotion, enquiry and service, concluding His statement with
the significant words: “The Wise Ones, Seers of the Truth, will teach you the
wisdom.” In At the Feet of the Master, which is the most modern rendering
of the Eastern teaching, the same triplicity appears, for the qualifications
include discrimination, the practice of good conduct, and the development of
love towards God, Guru or Teacher, and man.

To understand these diagrams of the chakras which are used by
Indian yogis, it must be borne in mind that they are intended to assist the
aspirant in all these three lines of progress. It is necessary that he should
acquire knowledge about the constitution of the world and of man (that which we
now call Theo­sophy), and that he should develop deep and strong devotion
through worship of the Divine, while he is striving to awaken the inner layers
of Kundalini and conduct her (for this force is always spoken of as a goddess)
in a tour through the chakras.

Because all these three objects are in view, we find in each
chakra some symbols which are concerned with teaching and devotion and need not
necessarily be regarded as constituting any essential or working part of the
chakra. In the services – or collective yoga practices – of the Liberal Catholic
Church we have a Western example of the same thing. There also we strive at the
same time to stimulate devotion and to convey spiritual knowledge, while
practising the magic involved in the rites. We must remember also that in old
days the yogis who wandered about or dwelt in the forests had little recourse
even to the written palm-leaf books of those times, and therefore required
mnemonic aids, such as many of these symbols give. They sat at times at the feet
of their gurus; and they could afterwards remember and recapitulate the
Theosophy which they learnt on those occasions, with the aid of such notes as
are conveyed by these drawings.

THE HEART CHAKRA

It is hardly possible here to attempt a complete explanation
of the symbology of all these chakras; it will be sufficient to give an
indication of what is probably meant in the case of the heart or Anahata chakra,
of which our figure is an illustration. One of the greatest difficulties in our
way is that there are several interpretations of most of these symbols, and that
the yogis of India present a front of impenetrable reticence to the inquirer, a
stone-wall unwillingness to impart their knowledge or thoughts to any but the
student who puts himself in statu pupillari with the set purpose of
giving himself utterly to the work of Laya Yoga, determined if necessary to
spend his whole life at the task in order to achieve success.

This chakra is described in vv. 22-27 of The Shatchakra
Nirupana, of which the following is Avalon’s summarized translation:

The Heart Lotus is of the colour of the Bandhuka flower
(red), and on its twelve petals are the letters Ka to Tha, with
the Bindu above them, of the colour of vermilion. In its pericarp is the
hexagonal Vayu-Mandala, of a smoky colour, and above it Surya-Mandala, with the
Trikona lustrous as ten million flashes of lightning within it. Above it the
Vayu Bija, of a smoky hue, is seated on a black antelope, four-armed and
carrying the goad (ankusha). In his (Vayu-Bija’s) lap is three-eyed Isha. Comme
Hamsa (Hamsabha), His two arms are extended in the gestures of granting boons
and dispelling fear. In the pericarp of this Lotus, seated on a red lotus, is
the Shakti Kakini. She is four­armed, and carries the noose (Pasha), the skull (Kapala)
and makes the boon (Vara) and fear-dispelling (Abhaya) signs. She is of a golden
hue, is dressed in yellow raiment, and wears every variety of jewel, and a
garland of bones. Her heart is softened by nectar. In the middle of the Trikona
is Shiva in the form of a Vana-Linga, with the crescent moon and Bindu on his
tête. He is of a golden colour. He looks joyous with a rush of desire. Below him
is the Jivatma like Hamsa. It is like the steady tapering flame of a lamp.

Below the pericarp of this Lotus is the red lotus of eight
petals, with its head upturned. It is in this (red) lotus that there are the
Kalpa Tree, the jewelled altar surmounted by an awning and decorated by flags
and the like, which is the place of mental worship.

THE PETALS AND LETTERS

The petals of any one of these lotuses, as we have seen, are
made by the primary forces, which radiate out into the body along the spokes of
la roue. The number of spokes is determined by the number of powers belonging
to the force which comes through a particular chakra. Dans ce cas nous avons
twelve petals, and the letters given to these evidently symbolize a certain
section of the total creative power or life-force coming into the body. le
letters mentioned here are from Ka to Tha, taken in the regular
order of the Sanskrit alphabet. This alphabet is extraordinarily scientific –
apparently we have nothing like it in Western languages – and its 49 letters are
usually arranged in the following tabular form, to which ksha is added in
order to supply enough letters for the fifty petals of the six chakras.

This alphabet is considered for yoga purposes to include the
sum-total of human sounds, to be from the point of view of speech a
materially extended expression of the one creative sound or word. Like the
sacred word Aum (the sound of which begins in the back of the mouth with a,
traverses the centre with u, and ends upon the lips in m)
it represents all creative speech, and therefore a set of powers. Ceux-ci sont
assigned as follows: the sixteen vowels to the throat chakra, Ka to
Tha to the heart, Da to Pha to the navel, Ba to La
to the second, and Va to Sa to the first. Ha and
Ksha are given to the Ajna chakra, and the Sahasrara Lotus or crown chakra
is considered to include the alphabet taken twenty times over.

Il n'y a pas
apparent reason why the letters should have been assigned to the particular
chakras mentioned, but there is an increasing number of powers as we ascend the
chakras. It is possible that the founders of the Laya system may have had a
detailed knowledge of these powers, and may have used the letters to name them
much as we use letters in referring to angles in geometry, or to the emanations
from radium.

The practice of
meditation on these letters has evidently something to do with reaching “the
inner sound which kills the outer”, to use a phrase from The Voice of the
Silence. The scientific meditation of the Hindus begins with concentration
upon a pictured object or a sound, and only when the mind has been fixed
steadily upon that does the yogi try to pass on to realize its higher
significance. Thus in meditating upon a Master he first pictures the physical
form, and afterwards tries to feel the emotions of the Master, to understand His
thoughts, and so on.

In this matter of
sounds the yogi tries to pass inward from the sound as known to us and uttered
by us, to the inner quality and power of that sound, and thus it is an aid to
the passage of his consciousness from plane to plane. It may be thought that God
created the planes by reciting the alphabet and that our spoken word is its
lowest spiral. In this form of yoga the aspirant strives by inner absorption or
laya to return upon that path and so draw nearer to the Divine. In Light on
the Path we are exhorted to listen to the song of life, and to try to catch
its hidden or higher tones.

THE MANDALAS

The hexagonal
mandala or “circle” which occupies the pericarp of the heart lotus is taken as a
symbol of the element air. Each chakra is considered to be especially connected
with one of the elements earth, water, fire, air, ether and mind. These elements
are to be regarded as states of matter, not elements as we understand them in
modern chemistry. They are thus equivalent to the terms solid, liquid, fiery or
gaseous, airy and etheric, and are somewhat analogous to our sub-planes and
planes-physical, astral, mental, etc. These elements are represented by certain
yantras or diagrams of a symbolic character, which are
given as follows in The Shatchakra Nirupana, and are shown within the
pericarps of the pictured lotuses.

Sometimes in the following list orange-red is given instead
of yellow, blue instead of smoky, and black instead of white in the fifth
chakra, though it is explained that black stands for indigo or dark blue.

CHAKRA

ELEMENT

FORME

COLOUR

1

2

3

4

5

6

Terre

Eau

Feu

Air

Ether

Min

A square

A crescent moon

A triangle

Two interlaced triangles (a hexagonal figure)

A circle

Yellow

blanc

Bright red

Smoky

blanc

blanc

TABLE VII

It may seem curious to the Western reader that the mind
should be put among the elements, but that does not appear so to the Hindu, for
the mind is regard­ed by him as but an instrument of consciousness. The Hindu
has a way of looking at things from a very high point of view, often apparently
from the stand­point of the Monad. For example, in the seventh chapter of the
Gita, Shri Krishna says: “Earth, water, fire, air, ether, manas, buddhi and
ahamkara – these are the eightfold divisions of my manifestation (prakriti).” A
little later on He speaks of these eight as, “my lower manifestation”.

These elements are associated with the idea of the planes, as
before explained, but it does not seem that the chakras are especially connected
with them. But certainly as the yogi meditates upon these elements and their
associated symbols in each chakra he reminds himself of the scheme of the
Avions. He may also find this form of meditation a means for raising his centre
of consciousness, through the levels of the plane in which it is at the time
functioning, to the seventh or highest, and through that to something higher
still.

Quite apart from the possibility of going out into a higher
plane in full consciousness, we have here a means of raising the consciousness
so that it may feel the influences of a superior world and receive impressions
from above. The force or influence so received and felt is no doubt the “nectar”
of which the books speak, of which we will say more in connection with the
raising of the awakened kundalini to the highest centre.

THE YANTRAS

In Nature’s Finer Forces
Pandit Rama Prasad presents us with a thoughtful study of the reasons for the
geometrical forms of these yantras. His explana­tions are too lengthy for
reproduction here, but we may very briefly summarize some of his main ideas. Il
argues that just as there exists a luminiferous ether, which is the bearer of
light to our eyes, so there is a special form of ether for each of the other
forms of sensation – smell, taste, touch and hearing. These senses are
correlated with the elements represented by the yantras – smell with the solid
(square), taste with liquid (crescent), sight with the gaseous (triangle), touch
with the airy (hexagon), and hearing with the etheric (circle). The propagation
of sound, the Pandit argues, is in the form of a circle, that is of a radiation
all around; hence the circle in the fifth chakra. The propagation of light, he
says, is in the form of a triangle, for a given point in the light-wave moves a
little for­wards and also at right angles to the line of progress, so that when
it has completed its movement it has performed a triangle; hence the triangle in
the third chakra. He argues that there is a movement in the ether also in the
cases of touch, taste and smell, and gives reasons for the forms which we find
associated with these in their respective chakras.

THE ANIMALS

The antelope, on account of its fleetness of foot, is a
suitable symbol for the element air, and the bija or seed-mantra (that is, the
sound in which the power governing this element manifests itself) is given as
Yam. This word is sounded as the letter y, followed by the neutral
vowel n, (which is like the a in “India”), and a nasal after-sound
similar to that which frequently occurs in the French language. It is the dot
over the letter which represents this sound, and in that dot is the divinity to
be worshipped in this centre – the three-eyed Isha. Other animals are the
elephant, associated with earth on account of its solidity and with ether
because of its supporting power; the makara or crocodile in the water of Chakra
2; and the ram (evidently regarded as a fiery or aggressive animal) in Chakra 3.
For certain purposes the yogi may imagine himself as seated on these animals and
exer­cising the power which their qualities represent.

THE DIVINITIES

There is a beautiful idea in some of these mantras, which we
may illustrate by reference to the well-known sacred word Om. It is said to
consist of four parts – a, u, m, and ardhamatra. There is a reference to this in
The Voice of the Silence, as follows:

And then thou canst repose between the wings of the Great
Bird. Aye, sweet is rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies,
but is Aum throughout eternal ages.

And Madame Blavatsky in
a footnote to this speaks of the Great Bird as:

Kala Hamsa, the bird or swan. Says the Nadavindu-upanishat
(Rig-veda) translated by the Kumbakonam Theosophical Society – “The syllable
A is considered to be the bird Hamsa’s  right wing, U its left, M its tail, and
the Ardhamatra (half metre) is said to be its head.”

The yogi after reaching the third syllable in his meditation,
passes on to the fourth, which is the silence which follows. He thinks of the
divinity in that silence.

In the different books the deities assigned to the chakras
vary. For example The Shatchakra Niru­pana places Brahma, Vishnu and
Shiva in the first, second and third chakras respectively, and different forms
of Shiva beyond them, but The Shiva Samhita and some other works mention
Ganesha (the elephant­-headed son of Shiva) in the first, Brahma in the second
and Vishnu in the third. Apparently differences are made according to the sect
of the worshipper.

Along with Isha in the present instance we have as feminine
divinity the Shakti Kakini. Shakti means power or force. Thought-power is
described as a shakti of the mind. In each of the six chakras there is one of
these feminine divinities-Dakini, Rakini, Lakini, Kakini, Shakini and Hakini –
which are by some identified with the powers governing the various dhatus
or bodily substances. In this chakra Kakini is seated on a red lotus. Elle est
spoken of as having four arms (four powers or functions). With two of her hands
she makes the same signs of granting boons and dispelling fears as are shown by
Isha; the other two hold a noose (a symbol which is another form of  the ankh
cross) and a skull (as symbol, no doubt, of the slain lower nature).

THE BODY MEDITATION

Sometimes the meditations usually prescribed for these
chakras are assigned to the body as a whole, as in the following extract from
The Yogatattva Upanishad:

There are five elements, earth, water, fire, air, and ether.
For the body of the five elements, there is a fivefold concentration. Du
feet to the knees is said to be the region of earth; it is four-sided in shape,
yellow in colour and has the letter La. Carry­ing the breath with the
letter La along the
region of earth (from the feet to the knees) and contemplating Brahma with four
faces and of a golden colour, one should perform meditation there. …

The region of water is declared to extend from the knees to
the anus. The water is semi-lunar in shape and white in colour, and has Va
for its bija (seed). Carrying up the breath with the  letter Va along
the region of water, he should meditate upon the god Narayana, having four arms
and a crowned head, as being of the colour of pure crystal, as dressed in orange
cloths and as decayless. …

From the anus to the heart is said to be the region of fire.
Fire is triangular in shape, of red colour, and has the letter Ra, for
its bija or seed. Raising the breath, made resplendent through  the letter
Ra, along the region of fire, he should meditate upon Rudra, who has three
eyes, who grants all wishes, who is of the colour of the midday sun, who is
smeared all over with holy ashes, and who is of a pleased countenance. …

From the heart to the middle of the eyebrows is said to be
the region of air. Air is hexangular in shape, black in colour, and shines with
the letter Ya. Carrying the breath along the region of air, he should
meditate upon Ishvara, the omniscient, as pos­sessing faces on all sides. …

From the centre of the eyebrows to the top of the head is
declared to be the region of ether; it is circular in shape, smoky in colour,
and shining with the letter Ha. Raising the breath along the region of
ether, he should meditate upon Sadashiva in the following manner – as producing
happiness, as of the shape of bindu (a drop), as the Great Deva, as having the
shape of ether, as shining like pure crystal, as wearing the rising crescent
moon on his head, as having five faces, ten hands and three eyes, as being of a
pleasing countenance, as armed with all weapons, as adorned with all ornaments,
as having the goddess Uma in one-half of his body, as ready to grant favours,
and as the cause of all the causes.

This, to some extent, confirms our suggestion that in some
cases the principles upon which we are asked to meditate are applied to parts of
the body for purely mnemonic purposes, not with the direct inten­tion of
affecting those parts.

THE KNOTS

In the centre of the heart lotus a trikona or inverted
triangle is figured. This is not a feature of all the centres, but only of the
root, heart and brow chakras. There are in these three special granthis
or knots, through which kundalini has to break in the course of her journey. le
first is sometimes called the knot of Brahma; the second that of Vishnu; la
third that of Shiva. The idea which this symbolism seems to imply is that the
piercing of these chakras in some way involves a special change of state,
possibly from the personality to the higher self and thence to the Monad­ – the
regions over which these Aspects may be said to rule. It can, however, be only
in a subordinate or secondary manner that this is true, for we have observed
that the heart chakra receives impressions from the higher astral, the throat
centre from the mental, and so forth. In each triangle the deity is represented
as a linga, or instrument of union. The Jivatma (literally “living self”)
pointing upwards “like the flame of a lamp” is the ego, represented as a steady
flame probably because he is not distressed by the accidents of material life,
as is the personality.

THE SECONDARY HEART
LOTUS

The second small lotus represented as just beneath the heart
chakra is also a special feature of this centre. It is used as a place for
meditation upon the form of the guru or the Aspect of the Deity which especially
appeals or is assigned to the worshipper. Here the devotee imagines an island of
gems, containing beautiful trees, and an altar for worship, which is described
as follows in The Gheranda Samhita:

Let him contemplate that there is a sea of nectar in his
heart; that in the midst of that sea there is an island of precious stones, the
very sand of which is pulverized diamonds and rubies.  That on all sides of it
there are Kadamba trees, laden with sweet flowers; that, next to these trees,
like a rampart, there is a row of flowering trees, such as malati, mallika, jati,
kesara, champaka, parijata, and padma, and that the fragrance of these flowers
is spread all round, in every quarter. In the middle of this garden, let the
yogi imagine that there stands a beautiful Kalpa tree, having four branches,
representing the four Vedas, and that it is full of flowers and fruits. Insects
are humming there and cuckoos singing. Beneath that tree, let him imagine a rich
platform of precious gems, and on that a costly throne inlaid with jewels, and
that on that throne sits his particular Deity, as taught to him by his Guru. Laisser
him contemplate on the appropriate form, ornaments and vehicle of that Deity.

The worshipper uses his imagination in creating this
beautiful scene so vividly as to become enwrapped in his thought and to forget
the outer world entirely for the time being. The process is not, however,
entirely imaginative, for this is a means to obtain constant contact with the
Maîtriser. Just as the images of persons made by one who is in the heaven-world
after death are filled with life by the egos of those persons, so the Master
fills with his real presence the thought-form produced by his pupil. À travers
that form real inspiration and sometimes instruction may be given. Un
interesting example of this was presented by an old Hindu gentleman who was
living as a yogi in a village in the Madras Presidency, who claimed to be a
pupil of the Master Morya. When that Master was travelling in Southern India
years ago he visited the village where this man lived. The latter became his
pupil, and declared that he did not lose his Master after he went away, for he
used frequently to appear to him and instruct him through a centre within
himself.

The Hindus lay much stress upon the necessity for a Guru or
Master, and they reverence him greatly when he is found. They constantly
reiterate the statement that he must be treated as divine; The Tejobindu
Upanishad says: “The furthest limit of all thoughts is the guru.” They
maintain that were one to think of the glorious qualities of the Divine Being,
one’s imagination would still fall below the perfections of the Master. We who
know the Masters well realize the truth of that; their pupils find in them
heights of consciousness splendid and glorious beyond all expectation. Ce n'est pas
that they consider the Master equal to God; but that that portion of the Divine
which the Master has attained outshines their previous conceptions of it.

EFFECT OF MEDITATION IN
THE HEART

The Shiva Samhita thus
describes the benefits which are said to accrue to the yogi from meditation upon
the heart centre:

He gets immeasurable knowledge, knows the past, present and
future; has clairaudience, clairvoyance and can walk in the air, whenever he
likes.

He sees the adepts, and the goddesses known as Yoginis;
obtains the power known as Khechari, and conquers the creatures which move in
the air.

He who
contemplates daily on the hidden Banalinga un­doubtedly obtains the psychic
powers called Khechari (moving in the air) and Bhuchari
(going at will all over the world).

It is not necessary to comment upon these poetic descriptions
of the various powers; the student will read between the lines. Still, there may
also be some­thing in the literal meaning of such statements as these; for there
are many wonders in India – the mysterious powers of the fire-walkers, and the
perfectly marvel­lous hypnotic ability shown by some conjurers who perform the
famous rope trick and similar feats.

KUNDALINI

The Hindu Yogis, for whom the books which have come down to
us were written, were not partic­ularly interested in the physiological and
anatomical features of the body, but were engaged in practising meditation and
arousing kundalini for the purpose of elevating their consciousness or rising to
higher planes. This may be the reason why in the Sanskrit works little or
nothing is said about the surface chakras, but much about the centres in the
spine and the transit of kundalini through these.

Kundalini is described as a devi or goddess luminous as
lightning, who lies asleep in the root chakra, coiled like a serpent three and a
half times round the svayambhu linga which is there, and closing the
entrance to the sushumna with her head. Nothing is said as to the outer layer of
the force being active in all persons, but this fact is indicated in the
statement that even as she sleeps she “maintains all breathing creatures”.
And she is spoken of as the Shabda Brahman in human bodies. Shabda
means word or sound; we have here, therefore, a reference to the Third Aspect of
the Logos. In the process of creation of the world this sound is said to have
issued in four stages; probably we should not be far wrong in asso­ciating these
with our Western conceptions of the three states of body, soul and spirit, and a
fourth which is union with the Divine or All-spirit.

THE AWAKENING OF
KUNDALINI

The object of the yogis is to arouse the sleeping part of the
kundalini, and then cause her to rise gradually up the sushumna canal. Various
methods are prescribed for this purpose, including the use of the will, peculiar
modes of breathing, mantras, and various postures and movements. The Shiva
Samhita describes ten mudras which it declares to be the best for
this purpose, most of which involve all these efforts at the same time. Dans
writing of the effect of one of these methods, Avalon describes the awakening of
the inner layers of kundalini as follows:

The heat in the body then becomes very powerful, and
kundalini, feeling it, awakens from her sleep, just as a serpent struck by a
stick hisses and straightens itself. Then it enters the Sushumna.

It is said that in some cases kundalini has been awakened not
only by the will, but also by an accident – by a blow or by physical pressure. je
heard an example of the kind in Canada. A lady, who knew nothing at all of these
matters, fell down the cellar steps in her house. She lay for some time
unconscious, and when she awoke she found herself clairvoyant, able to read the
thoughts passing in other people’s minds, and to see what was going on in every
room in the house; and this clairvoyance has remained a permanent possession.
One assumes that in this case in falling the lady must have received a blow at
the base of the spine exactly in such a position and of such a nature as to
shock the kundalini into partial activity; or of course it may have been some
other centre that was thus artificially stimulated.

Sometimes the books recommend meditation upon the chakras
without the prior awakening of kundalini. This appears to be the case in the
following verses from The Garuda Purana:

Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipuraka, Anahatam, Vishuddhi and
also Ajna are spoken of as the six chakras.

One should meditate, in order, in the chakras, on Ganesha, on
Vidhi (Brahma), on Vishnu, on Shiva, on Jiva, on Guru, and on Parabrahman,
all-pervading.

Having worshipped mentally in all the chakras, with
un­wavering mind, he should repeat the Ajapa-gayatri according to the
instructions of the Teacher.

He should meditate in the Randhra, with the thousand-­petalled
lotus inverted, upon the blessed Teacher within the Hamsa, whose lotus-hand
frees from fear.

He should regard his body as being washed in the flow of
nectar from His feet. Having worshipped in the fivefold way he should prostrate,
signing His praise.

Then he should meditate on the kundalini as moving up­wards
and downwards, as making a tour of the six chakras, placed in three and a half
coils.

Then he should meditate on the place called sushumna, which
goes out of the Randhra; thereby he goes to the highest state of Vishnu.

THE ASCENT OF KUNDALINI

The books hint at, rather than explain, what happens when
kundalini rises up the channel through the sushumna. They refer to the spine as
Merudanda, the rod of Meru, “the central axis of creation”, presumably of the
corps. In that, they say, there is the channel called sushumna, within that
another, called Vajrini, and within that again a third called Chitrini, which is
“as fine as a spider’s thread”. Upon that are threaded the chakras, “like knots
on a bamboo rod”.

Kundalini rises up Chitrini little by little as the yogi uses
his will in meditation. In one effort she may not go very far, but in the next
she will go a little farther, and so on. When she comes to one of the chakras or
lotuses she pierces it, and the flower, which was turned downwards, now turns
vers le haut. When the meditation is over, the candidate leads Kundalini back again
by the same path into the Muladhara; but in some cases she is brought back only
as far as the heart chakra, and there she enters what is called her chamber.
Several of the books say that kundalini resides in the navel chakra; on a
never seen it there in ordinary people, but this statement may refer to those
who have roused it before, and so have a sort of deposit of the serpent-fire in
the centre.

It is explained that as kundalini enters and leaves each
chakra in the course of her ascent in the above­mentioned variety of meditations
she withdraws into latency (hence the term laya) the psychological
func­tions of that centre. In each chakra which she enters there is a great
enhancement of life, but as her object is to reach the highest she proceeds
upwards, until she reaches the topmost centre, the Sahasrara lotus. Here, as the
symbology has it, she enjoys the bliss of union with her lord, Paramashiva; et
as she returns on her path she gives back to each chakra its specific faculties,
but much enhanced.

All this describes a process of partial trance into which one
who meditates deeply necessarily passes, for in concentrating all our attention
upon some lofty subject we cease for the time being to pay heed to the various
sounds and sights which surround and play upon us. Avalon mentions that it
generally takes years from the commencement of the practice to lead the
kundalini into the Sahasrara, though in excep­tional cases it can be done in a
short time. With practice comes facility, so that an expert, it is said, can
raise and lower the Shakti within an hour, though he is of course perfectly at
liberty to stay as long as he will in the crown centre.

Some writers say that as kundalini rises in the body, the
portion beyond which she goes grows cold. No doubt this is the case in those
special practices in which a yogi goes into trance for a long period, but not in
the usual employment of this power. In The Secret Doctrine Madame
Blavatsky cites the case of a yogi, who was found on an island near Calcutta,
round whose limbs the roots of trees had grown. She adds that he was cut out,
and in the endeavour to awaken him so many outrages were inflicted on his body
that he died. She mentions also a yogi near Allahabad who – for purposes no
doubt well under­stood by himself – remained sitting upon a stone for
fifty-three years. His chelas or disciples washed him in the river every night
and then lifted him back, and during the day his consciousness sometimes
returned to the physical world, and he would then talk and teach.

THE GOAL OF KUNDALINI

The concluding verses of the Shatchakra Nirupana
beautifully describe the conclusion of the tour of kundalini, as follows:

The Devi who is Shuddha-sattva pierces the three Lingas, and,
having reached all the lotuses which are known as the Brahma­nadi lotuses,
shines there in the fullness of her lustre. Thereafter, in her subtle state,
lustrous like lightning and fine like the lotus fibre. She goes to the gleaming
flame-like Shiva, the supreme Bliss, and of a sudden produces the bliss of
Liberation.

The beautiful Kundali drinks the excellent red nectar issuing
from Para Shiva, and returns from there, where shines Eternal and Transcendent
Bliss in all its glory, along the path of Kula, and enters the Muladhara. le
yogi who has gained steadiness of mind makes offering (Tarpana) to the
Ishta-devata and the Devatas in the six chakras, Dakini and others, with that
stream of celestial nectar which is in the vessel of Brahmanda, the knowledge
whereof he has gained through the tradition of the Gurus.

If the yogi who is devoted to the Lotus Feet of his Guru,
with heart unperturbed and concentrated mind, reads this work, which is the
supreme source of the knowledge of Liberation and is faultless, pure and most
secret, then of a surety his mind dances at the Feet of his Ishta-devata.

CONCLUSION

Like ourselves, the Hindus hold that the results of Laya Yoga
can be attained by the methods of all the systems of yoga. In the seven schools
of India, and among the students in the West, all who under­stand aright are
aiming at the highest goal of human endeavour, at that liberty which is higher
than libera­tion, because it includes not only union with God in  high realms,
beyond earthly manifestation, but also those powers on each plane which make the
man an Adhikari Purusha, an office-bearer or worker in the service of the
Divine; in the work of lifting the toiling millions of humanity towards the
glory and happiness which awaits us all.

OM, AIM, KLIM, STRIM

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