The anahata chakra is the fourth chakra, coming after the mooladhara, swadhisthana and manipura chakras. It is located in the heart region of the spine.
The word anahata means ‘unstruck’ or ‘unbeaten’. Therefore, the anahata chakra is the centre of unbeaten sound. That is, the cosmic sound (shabda brahman) is heard at this centre .. . a sound that does not arise as a result of two objects hitting each other as do other sounds. The sound that is heard is uncaused.
This chakra is also widely called the hridaya chakra, heart centre, because of its location.
This centre is widely regarded as the centre of consciousness (jivatma) in man. Because of this, many sects say that this is the best place to concentrate during meditational practices. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (3:34) it says: “The Atma is realized by reflection at the heart centre (anahata chakra).” In this context, one can create a mental image at this centre in the hridayakasha (ethereal space at the heart centre), chant a mantra, continually repeat an enquiry about a certain aspect of existence (as in jnana yoga) and many other practices. This centre is so powerful for it is the seat of emotions. These emotions when purified and one-pointed are transformed into devotion. Opening of this chakra produces intense feelings of bhakti. One’s emotional or devotional power flows in one constant stream, in one direction, transforming the being of an individual. The mind becomes overwhelmingly one-pointed which leads to transcendence.
The anahata chakra is the level where one begins to accept and love everyone and everything unconditionally. One begins to perceive that though people and objects may have gross aspects and differences, they are really embodiments of perfection. One begins to love people and the objects of the world for what they are. One begins to accept their nature, with its faults and positive qualities, and to realize that everyone and everything is acting according to its swadharma. All things are performing specific roles, like actors on a stage, in accordance with inherent qualities. A lion acts like a lion because it is designed to act like a lion. A stone acts like a stone because it has been designed to be like a stone. A human acts in a specific manner because of the inherent human design. This design is swadharma.
The attributes of a person at the level of understanding of the anahata chakra are described in the Shut Chakra Nxrupana (verse 27) as: “Foremost among the yogis he is ever dearer than the dearest beloved husband of a woman. He is wise and performs noble deeds. His senses are under control. His mind is concentrated and ever engrossed in reflection on Brahman. His inspired speech flows like a stream of clear water … ”
At the level of the anahata chakra, one begins to become more creative, whether in the field of science, art, music, poetry or whatever. Many of the well-known creative people of the world functioned at this level or higher.
Above this chakra level there is progressively less identification with limited human existence. One starts to transcend individual identification. One’s identification expands. This is one reason why the jiva (individual embodiment of consciousness) is said to reside at anahata.