ARVINDUS

Secret Wisdom Teaching

The (Human) Centres

THE (HUMAN) CENTRES

The (human) centres play an important role in the secret wisdom teaching because through them many sevenfold concepts are related to man. It’s an enormous and intricate field of study of which here a very general summarization shall be given.

Now the centres as mentioned in the secret wisdom teaching are in Hinduism known as ‘chakras’. Let us start this contemplation with their ennumeration.1

Hinduism Secret Wisdom Teaching
Sahasrar charka Head centre
Ajna chakra Centre between eyebrows
Vishuddha chakra Throat centre
Anahata chakra Heart centre
Manipura chakra Solar plexus centre
Swadhisthana chakra Sacral centre
Muladhara chakra Centre at base of spine

Figure 1.

The names of the centres as given in the secret wisdom teaching point out their corresponding location in the body. And with this they also correspond to the major dense physical glands of science, which are found in the by the names of the centres described location.2

Centre Gland
Head centre Pineal gland
Centre between eyebrows Pituitary body
Throat centre Thyroid gland
Heart centre Thymus gland
Solar plexus centre Pancreas
Sacral centre Gonads
Centre at base of spine Adrenal glands

Figure 2.

Now that the centres correspond to the major dense physical glands does not mean that they are identical. Where the glands are found in the dense physical body the centres are to be found in the etheric body.3 Here it must be made clear that both the dense physical body and the etheric body are part of the physical body as such. Thereby the etheric body is found on the first four subplanes of the physical body (counted from above) while the dense physical body is found on the last three subplanes thereof.4 These densest three subplanes we know as the gaseous, the liquid and the solid (or dense) states of matter.5

Physical subplane State Body
First First ether Etheric Physical
Second Second ether
Third Third ether
Fourth Fourth ether
Fifth Gaseous Dense physical
Sixth Liquid
Seventh Solid

Figure 3.

Although the etheric and the dense physical body are often treated separately they are considered as one physical body whereby the etheric interpenetrates the dense physical.6 The dense physical glands then can be seen as the externalisations of the etheric centres.7

Now the etheric body is composed entirely of lines of force which at their crossing points form the centres.8 There are seven major crossings and centres and twenty-one minor crossings and centres. The seven major have already been mentioned. Let us for completion enumerate the twenty-one minor also. There are two in front of the ears near the jawbone connections, two just above the two breasts, one where the breast bones meet near the thyroid gland, two in the hand palms, two in the feet soles, two just behind the eyes, two connected with the gonads, one near the liver, one connected with the stomach, two connected with the spleen (forming in reality one centre), two at the back of the knees, one (powerful one) connected with the vagus nerve not far from the thymus gland and one close to the solar plexus. There are also forty-nine smaller ones.9 Of these one regards the alta major centre at the top of the spine or the lower back of the head.10, 11 This minor centre corresponds to the carotid gland.12

Above it was mentioned that the etheric body is composed entirely of (crossing) lines of force. These lines are in Hindu teachings named ‘nadis’ and like the centres or chakras underlie the glands of the dense physical body so do these lines of force or nadis underlie its nerves.13 This etheric force, which rather constitutes the nadis than being carried by them,14 is in Hindu teachings called ‘prana’.15 This prana is also mentioned as ‘vital force’ and ‘vital energy’,16, 17 and for the etheric body then the corresponding name of ‘vital body’ is also used.18

So we basically have prana or vital force constituting the nadis or lines of force, constituting the etheric or vital body and where they cross its centres.

Now it is considered as a law and a rule that energy follows thought,19 and it is then the type of consciousness of man that determines the vitalization or devitalization of his centres. In this way the seven centres correspond to the seven planes of consciousness. For after all in the end the planes should be considered as states of consciousness.20, 21

Centre (Sub)plane Quality
Head centre Monadic Divine will
Centre between eyebrows Atmic Organisation, direction
Throat centre Mental Creativity
Heart centre Buddhic Love-Wisdom, group love
Solar plexus centre Astral Emotion, desire
Sacral centre Etheric Reproduction
Centre at base of spine Physical Harmony, union through conflict

Figure 4.

Above it was mentioned that the status of the centres is determined by the type of consciousness, and it can be said that the type of consciousness is on its turn determined by a man’s point in evolution and his ray type.22, 23 Thus the centres have a correspondence with the rays and the points of evolution as well.24, 25

Centre Ray Goal of evolution
Head centre 1 1 Initiate
Centre between eyebrows 4 7 Disciple
Throat centre 3 5 Aspirant
Heart centre 2 2 Aspirant
Solar plexus centre 6 6 Undeveloped
Sacral centre 5 3 Undeveloped
Centre at base of spine 7 4 Undeveloped

Figure 5.

Note that in the above figure the relation between the centres and the goals of evolution are mentioned, and not the reached status of evolution. Also in different sections of the secret wisdom teaching different ray relations with the centres are indicated. This difference will be dependent upon the context and the above overview shows the general relations where no further context for interpretation is given. It is only a general overview that may indicate lines of least (and most) resistance. It indicates for instance that it will be easier to awaken the heart centre for a second ray aspirant than for a third ray undeveloped man. At the same time it must be kept in mind that every man is a unique case with a unique set of awakened and unawakened centres.

Here we have found how the consciousness is conditioning the physical body through the centres of the etheric body. An undeveloped man who is predominantly focused on the astral plane (the plane of emotion)26 will enliven the solar plexus centre, which on its turn will bring the pancreas to increased activity, which again will condition the quality of the physical body.

Above the evolution of the consciousness of man was brought in relation to the awakening of the centres. Certain attainments of consciousness correspond to certain centre awakenings. In this process energies of certain centres are transferred to certain other centres, and in this way particular centres are also related to each other. The energy of the sacral centre is transferred to the throat centre, that of the solar plexus centre to the heart centre, that of the centre at the base of the spine to the head centre, that of the five lowest centres to the centre between the eyebrows and that of the lowest six centres to the head centre. This is called ‘transmutation’. From that transmuted state then also a down flow of energies takes place, which is called ‘transformation’. The energies from the head centre are directed through the throat centre towards the sacral centre and through the heart centre to the solar plexus centre. When the energies of the head centre flow through the centre at the base of the spine to the centre between the eyebrows it is called ‘transfiguration’.27 This awakening of the centres is closely connected with the raising of the so called kundalini fire,28 which regards the fire of matter in the centre at the base of the spine.29, 30

Now the above mentioned transference of energy to the higher centres and their corresponding awakening happens naturally when through the course of evolution and through spiritual disciplines like study, meditation and service the consciousness on the higher levels is developed. It is however also possible to unnaturally awaken the centres through breathing exercises and concentration upon their corresponding location in the physical body. The secret wisdom teaching strongly advices against this prematurely awakening of the centres and advocates their natural awakening.31

The centres are separated by protective webs, consisting of gaseous and etheric substance or pranic energies. In the course of evolution these protective webs and their function will be burned away naturally, however when the awakening of the centres and the raising of the kundalini fire is forced a premature destruction of these webs may take place, resulting in nervous trouble, inflammation of the tissues, spinal disease, and brain trouble.32, 33 However the etheric body as a whole forms itself also a web,34 and as such a web it is separating the physical body from the astral body.35 When then this web is pierced through the awakening of the centres and the raising of the kundalini fire the man becomes open for impressions from the astral world. And herein lies another danger in premature awakening of the centres and the raising of the kundalini. For then a man may become subjected to astral impressions for which he is not yet ready.36, 37 Concentration on the centre between the eyebrows and the heart centre is considered to be safe,38 but in general a focus on the higher qualities instead of the centres is adviced.

May thus our centres be safely awakened.

Notes
  1. Alice A. Bailey, 'The Soul and Its Mechanism', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Ch. VI.
  2. Ibidem.
  3. Alice A. Bailey, ‘Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Section Two, I. “It must always be remembered that the seven centres are not within the dense physical body. They exist only in etheric matter and in the etheric so-called aura, outside the physical body.”
  4. Alice A. Bailey, ‘Initiation, Human and Solar, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Ch. XIX, Glossary. “Etheric body. (Etheric double.)  The physical body of a human being is, according to occult teaching, formed of two parts, the dense physical body, and the etheric body.  The dense physical body is formed of matter of the lowest three subplanes of the physical plane.  The etheric body is formed of the four highest or etheric subplanes of the physical plane.”
  5. 'The Soul and Its Mechanism', Ch. III. “Three subplanes of the physical are known to every school-boy—the solid, liquid and gaseous, for example, ice, water and steam. In addition there are four subtler planes, or rather four different types of ether. These four are co-existent with each of the three well known subplanes, and interpenetrate them.”
  6. Ibidem.
  7. Alice A. Bailey, ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume II, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume II’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Ch. II, 3, a. “The endocrine or glandular system, acting under impulses entering the physical body via the seven centres in the etheric body; of these centres, the glandular system is simply the externalisation, or physical counterpart.”
  8. Alice A. Bailey, ‘Esoteric Healing, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume IV’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Part One, Ch. I, 2. “The etheric body is a body composed entirely of lines of force and of points where these lines of force cross each other and thus form (in crossing) centres of energy.  Where many such lines of force cross each other, you have a larger centre of energy, and where great streams of energy meet and cross, as they do in the head and up the spine, you have seven major centres.”
  9. Ibidem, Part One, Ch. I, 2.
  10. Alice A. Bailey, ‘A Treatise on Cosmic Fire’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Section Two, Division E, VI, 4. “The alta major centre at the top of the spine.”
  11. ‘Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle', Section Two, I. “The three head centres exist, one just above the top of the head, another just in front of the eyes and forehead, and the third at the back of the head, just above where the spinal column ends. This makes eight centres but is in reality seven, as the centre at the back of the head is not counted in the initiation process, any more than is the spleen.”
  12. ‘Esoteric Healing’, Part One, Ch. I, 4, B, The Seven Major Centres. “The medulla oblongata area (the alta major centre) and the carotid gland.”
  13. Ibidem, Part Three, Ch. VIII, Law VII. “The nadis, that system of slightly denser etheric channels or tiny threads of force which underlie the entire nervous system; they underlie every type of nerve and every type of nerve plexus.”
  14. ‘Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle', Section Two, I. “These nadis are the carriers of energy. They are in fact the energy itself […].”
  15. Alice A. Bailey, ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume I, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume I’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, “Etheric force or prana.”
  16. ‘A Treatise on Cosmic Fire’, Section Two, Introductory Questions, VI. “6. Prana 2. Vital force.”
  17. Ibidem. “Prana, or vital energy.”
  18. ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume II’, Ch. II, 3, c. “The vital or etheric body.”
  19. Ibidem, Ch. II, 4, b. “Energy  follows thought, the ancient rule proclaims.”
  20. ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, Man on the Planes’, Index: 201212031.
  21. ‘Esoteric Healing’, Part One, Ch. I, 1, A.
  22. ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume I’, Section Two, Ch. I, 5.
  23. ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, Classifications of Humanity’, Index: 201404081.
  24. ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume II’, Ch. II, 4, a.
  25. See note 18.
  26. ‘A Treatise on Cosmic Fire’, Section One, Division E, V, 1. “The emotional or astral plane, […].”
  27. ‘Esoteric Healing’, Part One, Ch. I, 4, B, Effects of Under-Stimulation and Over-Stimulation of the Centres.
  28. Alice A. Bailey, ‘The Externalisation of the Hierarchy’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Section One, The Period of Transition. “When this is done with detachment and is paralleled by a life of loving service, the awakening of the centres and the raising of the sleeping fire of kundalini will go forward with safety and sanity and the whole system will be brought to the requisite stage of "aliveness."”
  29. ‘A Treatise on Cosmic Fire’, Section One, Division E, V, 3. “Kundalini is likewise the fire or force of matter, […].”
  30. Ibidem. “Kundalini lies at the base of the spine, and, in the normal average man, its main function is the vitalisation of the body.”
  31. ‘The Externalisation of the Hierarchy’, Section One, The Period of Transition. “This process of ordered meditation, when carried forward over a period of years and supplemented by meditative living and one-pointed service, will successfully arouse the entire system, and bring the lower man under the influence and control of the spiritual man; it will awaken also the centres of force in the etheric body and stimulate into activity that mysterious stream of energy which sleeps at the base of the spinal column. […]; concentration upon the centres in the force body (with a view to their awakening) is ever to be avoided; […]. I cannot impress too strongly upon aspirants in all occult schools that the yoga for this transition period is the yoga of one-pointed intent, of directed purpose, of a constant practice of the Presence of God, and of ordered regular meditation carried forward systematically and steadily over years of effort.”
  32. Alice A. Bailey, ‘A Treatise on White Magic’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Rule Fourteen, The Awakening of the Centres. “Each centre in the spine is separated from the one above it and the one below it by an interlaced protective web which is composed of a curious blend of etheric and gaseous substance.  This has to be burnt away and dissipated before there can be the free play of the fires of the body. […].A little clear thinking therefore will demonstrate the need for excessive care, for there will obviously lie a direct effect upon the external apparatus and this in its turn will definitely affect what the psychologists call "behavior”. […] the protective "webs", or disks of pranic energy found on either side of them.”
  33. ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume II’, Ch. II, 4, a. “The raising of the kundalini force—if brought about ignorantly and prematurely—may produce the rapid burning through of the protective web of etheric matter which separates the various areas of the body (controlled by the seven centres) from each other.  This causes serious nervous trouble, inflammation of the tissues, spinal disease, and brain trouble.”
  34. Alice A. Bailey, ‘Discipleship in the New Age, Volume I’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Section Three, Discipleship and its End, Part III. “The etheric body is a web of light energy,[…].”
  35. ‘A Treatise on Cosmic Fire’, Section One, Division C, IV, 3. “The etheric web acts as a separator or a dividing web between the astral and the dense physical body.”
  36. ‘The Externalisation of the Hierarchy’, Section One, The Period of Transition. “[…]; it will cause overstimulation and the opening of doors on to the astral plane which the student may have difficulty in closing.”
  37. ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume II’, Ch. II, 4, b. “1. Those arising from the premature awakening of the centres. In these cases, the psychic has no control whatsoever over his powers. He simply knows that he sees and hears that which cannot be seen and heard by the average man. His problem is to live consciously and simultaneously upon the physical and astral planes. He cannot stop himself seeing and hearing and his life becomes most complex and complicated. Where there is this premature awakening in the case of the intellectual man, it frequently produces great difficulty, nervous tension, brain disturbance and always misunderstanding from those around.  There is many times a definite drift into insanity.  In the case of the average unintelligent person, there is usually a shift of the life—emphasis on to the astral plane and away from the physical plane where it is intended that men should express all that is in them.  The psychic then lives altogether in the world of glamour and of lower psychic phenomena.”
  38. Benjamin Creme, Transmission, A Meditation for the New Age, Share International Foundation, Amsterdam / London, 2006, p. 71. “The ajna centre acts as the synthesizer of all the chakras below it and it is perfectly safe to concentrate the attention on it. It is the heart centre in the head. Some say: “I always transmit through the heart centre.” This is fine. You cannot transmit through the ajna centre without transmiting through the heart centre.”
Bibliography
  • ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, Man on the Planes’, Index: 201212031.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘A Treatise on Cosmic Fire’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘A Treatise on White Magic’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘Discipleship in the New Age, Volume I’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘Esoteric Healing, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume IV’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume I, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume I’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘Esoteric Psychology, Volume II, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume II’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘Initiation, Human and Solar, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, 'The Soul and Its Mechanism', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Benjamin Creme, Transmission, A Meditation for the New Age, Share International Foundation, Amsterdam / London, 2006.