“Contemplation is of three kinds: common, light and subtle. When contemplating a certain figure, such as a guru or a certain god, we deal with the common contemplation. When the Brahma, or the Principle of Nature is contemplated as a light we deal with the subtle contemplation. This last type of contemplation makes us eternal.”
Tantric texts offer detailed explanations of the psychic centers (centers of force) – chakras, meaning “wheels”, situated in the sacral area, the area of the genitalia, the navel, the heart, the neck, the forehead and respectively the crown.
|The sacral chakra
|The chakra of the sexual area
|The chakra of the navel
|The chakra of the heart
|The chakra of the throat
|The chakra of the forehead
|The chakra of the crown
These Chakras do not exists in the physical body, they represent mere “plasma fields” of the subtle energy vibrating on specific frequencies, with different shapes, sounds and colours.
The esoteric and occult literature of the West provides many descriptions of these centres. Most of these descriptions rely on C.W. Leadbeater’s works, of the Theological Society. Other depictions derive from Sir John Woodroffe’s work (an English judge who lived in India for a while and translated some of the most important Tantric treatises).
Unfortunately, due to some errors, many contemporary works on this issue, (i.e. the subtle body and the existence of chakras) is wrong, often diverging in the main aspects from the concise and objective descriptions given in numerous Yogic and Tantric ancient works.
The most important aspect of the system of the Subtle body and Chakra is the Yin-Yang (solar – lunar) symbolism and the place of macrocosm energies. Thus the “Moon” is situated on top of the head and the “Sun” in the centre of the navel.
The ancient Tantric texts refer to the existence of four main chakras (situated in the area of the navel, heart, neck and head respectively). Each chakra is made up of a number of petals, symbolizing the natural colour of that chakra.
The centre of the navel is described as a lotus oriented upwards, having ten petals. The one of the heart area is depicted as a lotus oriented downwards and having twelve petals; the neck chakra has got sixteen petals, oriented upwards; the forehead chakra has got ninety-six petals. This is a very simple vision of the Subtle Body.
The centres situated below the navel are described in these works, as well. They are situated in the area of the genitalia and the sacrum, and traditionally are considered of a more physical nature than of a subtle one.
According to traditional sources, the subtle centre situated in the area of the sacrum has got four petals oriented upwards; the sexual chakra has got six petals oriented downwards. Tantric texts say that each of the four petals of the first centre can be divided to three and they are thus twelve petals.
The meditation on the Subtle Body made up of these psychic centres helps one to perceive the subtle flow of energy through the organism. For instance, Kundalini Yoga implies to direct the sexual energy from the lower chakras to the superior ones, in order to accomplish the complete union with Shiva situated in the Chakra of the head.
The simplest meditation on Subtle Centres is that of picturing an opened lotus flower in each of the centres situated in the area of the navel, heart and neck.
“The Subtle Body connects this universe to the subtle ones. No object or doctrine equals in importance the teaching of the Subtle Body – a door opened towards Ultimate Freedom.”