The (human) centres play an important role in the ageless wisdom 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 ageless wisdom are in Hinduism known as 'chakras'. Let us start this contemplation with their ennumeration.1
|Sahasrara 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|
The names of the centres as given in the ageless wisdom 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
|Head centre||Pineal gland|
|Centre between eyebrows||Pituitary body|
|Throat centre||Thyroid gland|
|Heart centre||Thymus gland|
|Solar plexus centre||Pancreas|
|Centre at base of spine||Adrenal glands|
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
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 the planes should be considered as states of consciousness.20, 21
|Head centre||Monadic||Divine will|
|Centre between eyebrows||Atmic||Organisation, direction|
|Heart centre||Buddhic||Love-Wisdom, group love|
|Solar plexus centre||Astral||Emotion, desire|
|Centre at base of spine||Physical||Harmony, union through conflict|
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|
|Centre between eyebrows||4||7||Disciple|
|Solar plexus centre||6||6||Undeveloped|
|Centre at base of spine||7||4||Undeveloped|
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 ageless wisdom 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.
|"6. Prana||2. Vital force."|