“Some men lack the daring,
Ever to be free,
They shun the heights, and cloud the depths,
And court security.
Come, you’re a man, no passive stone!
Stand up, and call your soul your own!
Banish weakness: Go on alone!
Don’t look back: Just go on alone!”
Human emotional turmoil is a vicious circle. Humans could be compared to the life of a bumblebee captured in a jar with a lid. After going inside, it quickly tries to come out following the path it remembered but bashes its head against the lid and falls, it again traverses the same path and falls again. In this struggle of moving out, it develops a new memory of the lid and starts thinking of protecting its head from banging against the lid again. In this process, it continues to rise and protect its head, come down and rise again and meanwhile forgets as to why it tried to rise in the first place. Each time it becomes successful in protecting its head, it becomes happy and humans are no different. Once the spirit descends into body, it forgets its path and thus the purpose. Each time we become successful in creating a secure zone for us and our loved ones, we feel happy and sometimes sad and again there come times which take us through this vicious rise and fall of emotion in our own mind. The process demands freedom, in other words, liberation.
Let’s understand what it takes to recall the purpose in the first place. One very helpful system for understanding human existence is through elements. According to yogic teachings, there are primarily five governing elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. In a spiritual sense, they represent stages of manifestation outward from Spirit to Matter.
Ether is the primordial energy out of which the first atoms were born, of air representing nebulous gases, fire the stars, water the molten state and earth as solid state. Such elements not only describe the stages of the soul’s descent into matter but also when reversed, the progressive stages of its liberation. We can identify this reverse path only if we purify our perception about divine manifestation which we behold everywhere. This path is like a blueprint already defined in our astral anatomy called chakras.
The first chakra is governed by earth element. Its positive aspect helps us to learn concentration, to persevere, be loyal and cling to truth. If the energy in this chakra is misdirected, it leads to become stubborn, hard and inflexible.
Love for beauty is a spiritual quality but attachment to beauty with a wish to own it, touch it, feel it, in other words, the earth element of solidity leads to affirming egos.
“Leave home in the sunshine,
And dance through the meadow,
Or sit by the stream and just be,
The silt of water,
Will gather your worries,
And carry them down to the sea.”
The second chakra is governed by water element. To develop positive aspects of a chakra, energy must move upward. Qualities of first chakra are perfected when they are offered to second chakra. This chakra controls sexual energy, procreation and expansion of species. It leads to creativity, open-mindedness and receptive to divine inspiration through new ideas and intuitions. It gives us the ability to flow with life changes. One develops the ability of a skillful surf boarder who can ride over the crest and troughs of any wave instead of being tossed about or be broken with disappointments.
Misdirected energy in this chakra may lead to disappointments in many ways like becoming bitter and disillusioned by earthly realities like death, betrayal, people leaving us, failure, losses tec.
“I throw all my passions and earthly pleasures on thy sacrificial fire, as the offerings and oblations of my devotion to Thee. In Thy blessed light I shall burn all shadows and fears of my imagination. In Thy blessed light I shall remain awake forever.”
The qualities of third chakra are governed by fire and its positive aspects help us to burn away all obstacles that keep us from the truth. It develops fiery self- control. One becomes a warrior in self-discipline, and stays focused and determined like a laser-beam.
The negative aspect of this chakra leads to jealousy, envy, intoxication, unmindful, unkind, harsh, anger, cruel attitude leading to suffering of innocent people. People with such negative aspect become dictators, ruthless bosses or just manipulators.
People devoted to spiritual path don’t say,” Well, I do want to meditate but if someone calls me out, I can’t say no.”
“What is love? Is it only ours? Or does love whisper in the flowers?
surely, we, children of this world, could not love by our own powers.”
The fourth chakra is represented by air. Air has qualities of expansiveness and freedom. Its positive aspects lead us to a state of awareness that precedes material involvement. For example, matter in gaseous state before the stars and planets were formed. This element heightens our sense of kinship. If this energy is directed downwards, sense of kinship is particularized, for example, one feels specific affinity for a person or a thing which gives rise to likes and dislikes. Our spiritual progress depends on our effort to neutralize our likes and dislikes. The positive aspects of this chakra manifest only after proper channelization of energy through earth, water and fire elements. Located in heart, this chakra develops pure unconditional love with impersonal sense and essential oneness with all life.
“My silence, like the ether, passes through everything, carrying the songs of earth, atoms and stars into the halls of His infinite mansion.”
The fifth chakra represents the element of ether. Ether helps our realization beyond ego. The following paragraph of a research document explains its importance in scientific world and spiritual context.
“Why is “ether” in Ethernet? Not only is “ether” part of the name for the LAN system, the ether metaphor was used extensively in documents that circulated within the Xerox PARC. Other metaphors were considered, but “ether” became the primary communicative tool for the new technology. The ether concept has a long and storied history dating back to antiquity.1 For example, in Book III of the Physics, Aristotle (trans. 1983) refers to ether as an unchanging cosmic element from which the stars were made (p. 30). As Milutis (2006) explains, the modern uptake of ether contains traces of the transcendental properties found in classical definitions of the term (p. 4). In the Principia, Newton (1687/1846) refers to an ether that “freely pervades the pores of all bodies” (p. 321). Milutis (2006) describes this ether as “the irrational element of Newton’s rational universe” (p. 8) because the concept is used to explain immaterial
functions within a mechanical universe. By the 19th century, the ether metaphor was widely used in both scientific and spiritualist circles to denote ubiquitous, immaterial forces such as the transfer of energy.”
Aristotle (trans. 1983) in his book of physics refers to ether as an unchanging cosmic element from which the stars were made. Spiritual Guru Paramhansa Yogananda said that the vibration that separates the material universe from the astral universe is the vibration of space, or ether. This element governs throat chakra and when awakened, represents inner qualities like calmness and expansion. Calmness is a feeling one experiences in deep sleep when we get back in touch with chakras. The more consciously we can withdraw energy through meditation, the more we experience an enormous revitalization of energy and consciousness. It is a wonderful, refreshing and releasing energy.
The opposite of calmness is restlessness and boredom. The influence of this aspect makes us restless, move up and down, run around and do many things and have many experiences as a way of fighting boredom.
Meditation helps this chakra to develop exceptionally clear mind and makes us an interested but impartial observer. It’s is because of the seemingly negative experiences, pains, tragedies and intense disappointments that we get closer to our spiritual self. It gives us control of speech and a sweet voice.
I will close my material eyes and dismiss the temptations of matter. I will peer through the darkness of silence until my eyes of relativity open into the one inner eye of light. When my two eyes of good and evil become single, and behold only the divine goodness of God in everything then I shall find my body, mind and soul filled with His omnipresent light.”
The sixth and the highest chakra in spine is the medulla oblongata, the negative pole of the ajna chakra or spiritual eye, the positive pole. The medulla oblongata is the center through which the entire body is fed with cosmic energy. Also called the primitive brain, located in lower part of the skull, connects neck and spine. When sperm and ovum are united, it moves outwards to create a physical body. In the process, the energy moves upward from medulla to brain and downward through spinal column to the nervous system and the body. Medulla oblongata is the only part of the body that cannot be operated on except peripherally. It is the seat of ego where consciousness of human beings is centered. It is the cause of bondage and desires that manifest in our hearts.
Ego = Soul + Body
Soul = Body – Ego
Ego doesn’t surrender itself to its higher self until it is convinced that it is in its best interest. By meditating on the spiritual eye through proper training under expert guidance of a Guru, we gradually take on the qualities of inner reality and realize the liberating light within.
Thou art I, I am Thou,
Knowing, Knower, Known, as One!
Tranquilled, unbroken thrill, eternally living, ever new peace!
Enjoyable beyond imagination of expectancy, samadhi bliss!
–Paramhansa Yogananda (Whispers from Eternity)
The seventh and the highest chakra, located at the top of our brain is known as saharara or thousand-petaled lotus. All rays arising from brain go out from this point and it is through this chakra that soul is united with God. It must be approached through sixth chakra. One cannot reach the seventh chakra without magnetizing all lower chakras. Spiritual eye is the seat of enlightenment and the crown chakra is the seat of liberation. One must be enlightened to become liberated.
The simple thought that we are not free keeps us from being free.
This article takes inspiration from the books of Ananda Worldwide. It is an attempt to ignite spiritual quest by briefly describing astral anatomy. The highest purpose of being a human is to realize God.