Are chakras hindu?

by Veronica Molinski

The term chakra, which literally means “wheel” in Sanskrit, refers to one of the seven points within this energy system. Each energy point acts like a wheel, rotating and vibrating with energy. Although the ego was subdued in the sixth chakra, even here it can persist and become large and powerful, even making the yogi a danger to society. The most common and studied chakra system incorporates six main chakras along with a seventh center that is not generally considered a chakra.

This chakra creates six mental modifications, which lead us to the world of psychological complications, represented by the affection, suspicion, disdain, illusion, destructiveness and lack of mercy of this chakra. Yoga teacher and author Jessamyn Stanley writes in The New York Times that modern Western society has no respect for the esoteric or the spiritual at all, which makes people skeptical about any alignment of yoga as practiced in the West with chakras or spirituality. The physical body has a connection to each of the seven upper chakras through nerve plexuses along the spinal cord and in the skull. Shiva like Itara Lingam symbolizes this state in which the desires of the lower chakras are attenuated because the subtle mind (sukshma manas) is under control and the masculine-female energies are in balance.

However, as with most other concepts derived from Sanskrit sources, the West (except for a handful of scholars) has almost completely failed to understand what the concept of chakra meant in its original context and how one is supposed to practice with them. This chakra is also associated with the human qualities of individuality, selfishness, physicality (including sexuality), materialism and dominance. The mūlādhāra surrounds a mysterious divine power (kuṇḍalinī) that the individual tries, through yogic techniques, to raise from chakra to chakra until he reaches the sahasrāra and self-enlightenment occurs. The Kundalini chakras are described as being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the spine to the top of the head.

The chakras are located along the spine and influence different nervous systems, organs and glands with their energy. When the Greek god Cronus, the God of time, was worshiped, mass consciousness remembered the Muladhara chakra with its new concern for time, past and future, dates and records. Those who live in this foot chakra steal freely, taking what they justify as their own anyway, feeling that the world “owes them their lives”. But after a few days, I realized that I was wrong.

In a post-biblical text from the 13th century called Śāradā-tilaka there is a simpler version of the same seven-chakra system, although that text clearly recognizes that there are multiple chakra systems (such as 12 or 16 chakra systems).