Much is said about the evolution of consciousness as the chakras are awakened. This is incorrect. Consciousness cannot be evolved; it is ever existent. When the chakras are awakened, then the limiting factors of the mind, called maya, are slowly removed so that consciousness shines through more and more in its pristine glory. There is no evolution of consciousness when the chakras are opened up – there is an increase of awareness associated with purification of the mind. The term unfoldment of awareness or expansion of awareness is better than evolution of consciousness. But let us leave the treacherous world of semantics before we become tied up in too many knots. In this concluding topic on the chakras we want to ‘tie up a few loose ends’1.
Tabulation of chakra characteristics
There are a large number of traditional characteristics associated with the chakras. On the accompanying two charts we have listed some of these characteristics, omitting those that are less relevant for the sake of clarity. Some of the characteristics have already been discussed. The following are ones that perhaps need a little explanation.
- Lokas: These are ‘levels of awareness’ or ‘spheres of being’. They can be very roughly defined as follows:
- Bhu – earthly, material
- Bhuvah – intermediate
- Swahah – subtle maha – the abode of devas (divine beings)
- Janah – the abode of those who have transcended the ego
- Tapah – abode of enlightened siddhas (perfect beings)
- Satyam – truth These lokas correspond exactly to the chakras and their meaning is the same. Each level indicates progressively higher heavens.
These different planes or spheres are also symbolized by the sri yantra (sometimes called sri chakra). If you look carefully, you will see that the central point is surrounded by a series of rings, one within the other. The largest ring, or the outer framework, is called the bhupura and represents the mooladhara chakra or the bhu loka. The other inner rings correspond to the other chakras and lokas.
Koshas: These are called ‘sheaths’ in English. They are live in number, and they indicate the five bodies of man, progressing from the gross physical to the subtle blissful sheath. They roughly correspond with the chakras as we have indicated.
Tattwas: These are unfortunately translated as ‘elements’ in English which tends to cause confusion, for the tattwas are incorrectly associated with the elements of science or the aspects of nature as fire, water, earth, etc. The tattwas indicate something much deeper and more subtle. For example, the earth tattwa is related to the mooladhara chakra. It does not mean earth of the variety in the garden; it means the specific frequency range of pranic vibration associated with the mooladhara chakra and which corresponds to the mind-body as a whole, including one’s thoughts and awareness.
Likewise, water is associated with the swadhisthana chakra. Again this water tattwa does not mean the water that you drink, but that level of vibration or sensitivity that is higher than the earth tattwa and which corresponds to the swadhisthana chakra.
The same applies to the tattwas of the other chakras. They represent progressive refinement in one’s being.
Bija mantras: These can be translated as ‘seed sounds’. They are the specific mantras or sounds that correspond to the chakras. In a rough sense, they represent the resonant frequency of the chakras, though they imply much more.
We have only very briefly described these various aspects; to give a full exposition would require an entire book. We have introduced them to open your eyes to close correlations between these characteristics and the chakras. We want to show that these different concepts are not isolated; they are all part of a whole, and are really talking about the same thing in different terms.