Chakra Files: Anahata Chakra/Heart Chakra
Location – Center of the chest (heart), love.
Air Element– running, hunting, using strength, contraction and expansion.
Attributes – Restlessness.
Desire – Action.
Activity – Movement within and outside the body.
Deities – Each Chakra has a Manifestation of the Shiva and Shakti Deities. Ishana – Detached from the World. Peaceful, Beneficent and Ever-Youthful. Kakini Shakti – Goddess of Spiritual Music, Poetry and Art. Antelope – Carrier of the Bija Mantra-Yam. Innocence, Purity and Sensitivity.
Symbol – Green-Gray Star (Smoky-Green as Smoke Pervades the Air), surrounded by 12 Red Petals.
Mantra – Repetition of Bijan Mantra-Yam opens the Heart and helps control Vital Energy. Each petal has a Sanskrit letter (Kam, Kham, Gam, Gham, Nnam, Cam, Cham, Jam, Jham, Nyam, Ttam, and Ttham).
The Spiritual Heart resides on the right side opposite the Physical Heart. Each of the 8 Petals of this Heart, the Ananda Kanda, represents an Emotion (Dullness, Anger, Evil, Joy, Movement, Sexuality, Charity and Holiness).
Color – Green (secondary color is pink)
Element – Air
Virtues– Shraddha (faith in Scriptures and teacher).
Name of Fire– Ahavaneya ( the fire of Love).
Musical Note – F#
Sense – Touch.
Spinal Contact – 1st Thoracic Vertebra.
Interrelating Organ – Thymus.
Functions – Anchors the life-force from the Higher Self. Energizes the blood and physical body with the life-force, blood circulation.
Glands/Organs – Heart, thymus glad, circulatory system, arms, hands, lungs.
Gems/Minerals – Emerald, green and pink tourmaline, malachite, green jade, green aventurine, chrysoprase, kunzite, rose quartz, ruby.
Qualities – Divine/unconditional love, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, balance, group consciousness, oneness with life, acceptance, peace, openness, harmony, contentment.
Negative Qualities – Repression of love, emotional instability, out of balance, heart problems, circulation problems.
Introduction To Anahata Chakra/Heart Chakra
Anahata means “unstruck”. Here the word ‘Unstruck’ refers to the place where the spiritual descends into the physical by the power of the “word” (shabdbrahman), the point of creation.
The poet, Kabīrdās, sang this melody about love and its nature:
“The flute of the infinite is played without ending, and its sound is love.
When love renounces all boundaries it arrives at the truth.”
This is what the Anahata chakra embodies. Anahata means “infinite” and “continuous”. In the Anāhata Chakra we hear Anāhata Nāda, the constant, fundamental sound of the Universe, the eternal vibration of the Self. Its sound is SO HAM – “That I am, I am That”. We perceive it as a subtle rhythmic melody similar to a heartbeat, but much softer and more wonderful.
The Anahata chakra radiance’s is infinite just like love. The radiance of this chakra depends on the depths of one’s relationships. So if we open our heart to the divine, our love also becomes infinite in nature.
Self-realization often involves the recognition of one’s own self, the Atma. The heart centre is intricately connected to the atma.
According to the Chandogya Upanishad:
“In the centre of the body there is a little shrine surrounded by a wall with eleven doors. Hidden within the shrine a Lotus blossoms, and within this there is a tiny, little room.”
This “tiny room in the heart of lotus” refers to the atma– our true self. This also often referred to as the Infinite consciousness that is pure and unchanging. This consciousness lives in every being that exists.
The heart chakra can be likened to a seed that contains a whole tree, where the heart chakra contains the entire Infinite consciousness.
The Jīvātmā lives joyfully in the liberated feeling of divine love and heavenly bliss when it has found its way to its true Self in the Anāhata Chakra. Bhakti Yogis, especially, those who follow the path of devotion to God, linger here for a long time. They are able to discover something new and fascinating every day in the infinite space of the heart.
But make no mistake, the Heart Chakra is not the final goal. There needs and should be a progression beyond this.
Pain As A Catalyst For The Heart Chakra
There are deep and painful wounds of disappointment that everyone carries. Spiritual wounds are deeper and more difficult to heal compared to physical ones. They can drag you down emotionally. Often, this can translate into a deep depression and disillusionment about the world. The best thing you can do is to withdraw from the external world and reflect to find inner balance and wisdom that will heal us.
One thing to remember is, the more the heart center opens, the more strongly and deeply will one feel the spiritual pain. But this will dissolve in the light of love and wisdom. Being vulnerable and open to pain and love is important as our greatest learning come through this.
When we emotionally keep our heart closed by building a wall, this will block our feelings from being expressed which will lead to a blocked heart chakra.
Hence, the Anahata chakra should be developed along with the Agya chakra so the feelings can be analyzed and controlled by Viveka (discrimination) and Buddhi (intellect). But not through harsh criticisms or reproaches but with loving understanding and insight, which heal and resolve. The Anāhata Chakra helps expand our feelings into infinity, but the Āgyā Chakra raises them to a higher level of consciousness.
The Open Heart Chakra
When the life force flows within us unhindered and harmoniously, we feel light-hearted and happy. Complete balance is Happiness. When we are free of fear and tension the Heart Chakra opens and imparts pleasant feelings and inner strength. This strength heals the inner wounds and allows us to forget the pain and unpleasantness of the past.
But this happiness is transitory in nature. It relates only to the physical and psychic levels. We experience Ānanda (bliss), but still lack Sat (truth, reality) and Chit (consciousness). In the heart, we are able to perceive our inner reality and the beauty of the Self, but we are unable to maintain this state permanently. In these fleeting moments of bliss, we are always conscious that we still have not reached our goal.
The Problems Of Anahata Chakra
1. Worldly attachment
2. Dependency: Dependency gives rise to expectations and demands, and these in turn give rise to anger. We become angry if someone refuses us something that we wanted or if something that we depend upon is taken away. If we do not purge ourselves of these impure stirrings of emotion that originate in the lower Chakras, we can again lose everything that we have gained through spiritual striving and the grace of the Guru.
Renounciation (Vairagya): The Importance Of Letting Go
The most important renunciation is the inner renunciation (Vairāgya). Ahead of everything else renounce your negative qualities and harmful habits, and remove the stumbling blocks of ego, greed, quarrelsomeness and hostility that lie on your inner journey.
Letting go is very difficult for us all. It gives rise to fear and defensiveness because we are dependent upon our habits even if they harm us. We believe that we will lose our identity, our purpose in life, but the exact opposite is the case.
-Vairāgya liberates us from fear and sorrow
-Vairāgya means to love all
-Vairāgya is love.
Often we feel tied to someone but are not necessarily happy about the relationship. A communal bond can be found everywhere in nature and is important for the maintenance of social order. But if we have fulfilled our duties in life and are still unable to release ourselves from the constant worry of family and possessions, this indicates a false sense of attachment. And, apart from the ego, this is one of the biggest hurdles on the spiritual path.
The feelings of dependency and genuine love can be tested with these simple questions.
-Love brings joy, not sadness
-Love shows understanding and provokes no arguments.
-Love provides security and makes no demands.
-Love grants freedom and knows no jealousy.
Attachments That Bind Us
Other attachments that bind us are feelings of resentment and revenge. Mamata is a strong, binding force that pulls us towards our desires and expectations. Its companions are Asha (hope) and Trishna (thirst/longing). These bind us not just in this lifetime but follow us through several other lifetimes until we learn to let go of them. This is illustrated in a beautiful story below:
A Master once approached a farmer to remind him of his true duty in life. He said to him: “Now that your son is grown and has taken over the work on the farm, it is time for you to dedicate your life to your spiritual perfection.” But the farmer, who clung firmly to his family and possessions, replied. “It is still far too soon. I want to wait until my son is married and has an heir, and then I will come to you Master.”
Several years later the Master visited the farmer again. In the meantime several grandchildren had been born so the Master said: “Now your house and farm are secure you can come with me.” But as before the farmer vehemently declined, saying: “Do you not see that they need me? Who will look after my grandchildren when the young ones are working in the fields?” So the Master left alone again.
Shortly afterwards the farmer died and because of his strong attachment to his family he was born again as a calf on his own farm and grew into a strong bull that was used by the young farmer for cultivating the fields. When the Master visited the village again he recognised the farmer in animal form and again offered to take him with him. But as always the farmer was not ready for this. “What would my son do without me? He has bought a new field and has no other draught animal.”
Exhausted by the hard work he died after a few years and, in turn, was born again on his former farm, but this time as a dog. Vigilantly he made his rounds about the estate. However, when he wanted to come closer to his grandchildren he was chased away by his own son, who even threw stones at him although he was treated well by his family in all other ways. He was still unable to overcome his attachment and go with the Master when he again visited the village. “Who would guard the house if I went?” he worried. “It would be an easy target for riff-raff and thieves.”
And so it went. Year after year the Master called on the farmer who, because of his attachment continued to sink to lower and lower levels of consciousness over several lifetimes. He became a snake and finally a worm that eked out its existence in the cowshed of his former farm. Still undisturbed by these external transformations his inner attachment to his relatives and his farm remained, preventing him from following the Master and going towards God.
Symbolism Of Anahata Chakra
We find a Lotus with twelve petals in the Anāhata Chakra. The petals represent the five Prānas and the five Upa Prānas (or expressed another way – the five Gyāna Indriyas and the five Karma Indriyas ), together with Manas and Buddhi. In this context Manas denotes the disposition and Buddhi the intellectual capacity.
It is located in the sushumna nadi in the region of the heart. It has twelve deep red petals with the vermilion letters kam, kham, gam, gham, ngam, cham, chham, jam, jham, nyam, tam, and tham.
The anahata chakra is associated with the sense of touch. The jnana-indriya or organ of knowledge is the skin. The karma-indriya or organ of activity is the hands.
Vishnu Granthi: Frees Emotional Attachment
Within the anahata chakra is the Vishnu granthi. This is the second of three psychic knots within the sushumna which must be opened, or pierced, in order for the kundalini to continue her ascent to sahasrara. The Vishnu granthi represents the bondage of emotional attachment. It is the tendency to live life making decisions based on emotions and feelings, rather than in the direction of a spiritual journey. When the emotions harmonize and enhance spiritual awakening rather than oppose it, the Vishnu granthi is opened.
Anandakanada Lotus: Wish Fulfilment (Kalpataru)
Directly below the heart chakra is another small lotus that is seldom talked about but significant to the heart chakra. Called the Anandakanda lotus, it has eight petals and contains the Kalpataru, or the Celestial Wishing Tree. In front of the tree is an altar for worship, and it is believed that the tree contains the deeper wishes of the heart chakra—those things we hardly dare name but are most integral to our deepest hopes. It is believed that when one worships at this altar by wishing from the heart, the tree bestows even more than is desired.
Free From Fate And Creating One’s Own Destiny
Anahata is also associated with manomaya kosha, controlling the emotions. It is at this level that we become free of fate, and begin to control our own destiny. Hence, at anahata we find the symbol of the Kalpataru or the wish-fulfilling tree.
We are able to make decisions outside of the realm of karma. In Manipura and the chakras below, man is bound by the laws of karma, and the fate he has in store for him. In Anahata, one is making decisions, by ‘following one’s heart’, based upon one’s higher self, and not from the unfulfilled emotions and desires of lower nature.
The animal symbol of the Anāhata Chakra is a black antelope. The antelope is fast and powerful, and at the same time delicate and sensitive. With its refined senses it senses danger well in advance. It is vigilant day and night, just as we should be on our spiritual path –attentive and careful.
Another important symbol is the Six Pointed Star together with a new moon. Both relate to the changeability we experience in this Chakra.
The six-pointed star is formed by two intersecting triangles. The triangle with the tip pointing upwards symbolizes the energy (Shakti) that offers us the possibility of raising our state of consciousness. The inverted triangle implies that we can also very easily slip back into the lower Chakras again from the Heart Chakra.
The triangles also highlight the inner battle that takes place within the heart between spirituality and emotion. When we purify our emotions we raise ourselves above earthly emotions and the spiritual love that rises in the Anāhata Chakra is the first radiation of the Divine light within us. But this enlightenment does not last because we still have to struggle with contradictory inner tendencies until our spiritual feelings are strengthened sufficiently.
The moon grows daily until it finally becomes the radiant full moon. In the same way our spiritual development is fostered by our daily practice until one day it achieves perfection. And just as the Lunar phases influence nature and the tides, the feelings within our heart are also subject to constant change; aggression and enthusiasm alternating with kindness, helpfulness and consistency.
In much the same way as the narrow crescent of the new moon is virtually invisible in the sky, our love for God exists within us unconsciously at all times, but our feelings of love are primarily directed towards worldly things. Love for Māyā always leads to disappointment, whereas love for God never disappoints. The more we steer our love towards God, the more love flows towards us.
Colour Of Anahata Chakra
The colour of the Anāhata Chakra is Light blue. Blue signfies spirituality and unity. It is the colour of the clear, cloudless sky, the reflection of purity and infinity. Also, the colour of the flame of a candle is blue in the centre as it is not polluted by smoke. When we purify the fire of the Manipūra its reflection in the Anāhata Chakra is also clear and pure. Sometimes when we are meditating on the Anāhata Chakra we can perceive the radiance from the glow of the Manipūra Chakra as a yellowish-orange colour.
Tattva Of Anahata Chakra
The Tattva of the Anāhata Chakra is Vayu, the air element. Air forms the basis for movement and expansion and symbolises the breadth and boundlessness of the heart, within which our consciousness is able to expand without restriction.
Vāyu is connected physically to the sense of touch and the skin (the organ of touch), and emotionally to the level of feelings. When the heart is touched it can give us a feeling of becoming lost in an ocean of emotions or sinking into our feelings.
When air is in motion it develops an immense power. Storms can even uproot strong trees and destroy whole houses. Infinite power also exists within the Anāhata Chakra; and it can be utilized positively or negatively. Just like a raging storm, anger and fury can devastate everything positive and beautiful that we have built in our lives; but the power of love is capable of achieving miracles and moving mountains.
The twelve petals also depict the twelve most important qualities that we are able to develop in the heart centre:
Joy, peace, love, harmony, bliss, clarity, purity, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, patience and kindness.
The Creative Well: Anahata Chakra
Living with an open and loving heart is to awaken and cultivate these 12 qualities. The Anahata chakra is also called ‘Chinta Mani’ because it bestows upon us the gift of expressing our thoughts and feelings in touching words, pictures or melodies.
When we are in the Anāhata Chakra our perceptions become finer and more comprehensive. Artistic talents and creative abilities, through which we are able to touch the hearts of others, are awakened within us. These rediscovered treasures awaken infinite love and the desire to open to and communicate with others. Poetry, stories, pictures and sounds that we create from the heart allow the most beautiful chords to be struck within people. This is because love, the language of the heart and the call of God, manifests within them.
The divinities of the Anāhata Chakra are Shiva and Shakti . Shiva (Purusha) is pure consciousness that steers us towards goodness and the Supreme Self. Shakti (Prakriti) is the Divine power through which consciousness manifests.
The aspects of Purusha and Prakriti are also found in Sūrya Shakti (the power of the sun) and Chandra Shakti (the power of the moon). Both flow in our Nādīs and have a significant influence on our physical and psychic state of health. Thus, Prānāyāma is an important and valuable practice for harmonizing both these aspects.
Breathing through the left nostril, which is connected to the moon principle of the Idā Nādī, quietens the emotions, while breathing through the right nostril, which relates to the sun principle of the Pingala Nādī, clarifies our consciousness. Nādī Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) unites and harmonises these two main Nādīs and brings the emotions and intellect into balance.
This regulation of the breath is an extremely beneficial technique, especially for the Anāhata Chakra, because it is possible that here we will oscillate between clarity of consciousness and emotional weakness for a long time. Painful memories continue to rise from the heart. If our ego is unable to digest rejection and insult they will lie like stones within us and we become “heavy of heart”.
Anahata Chakra Gland
The gland related to the Anāhata Chakra is the Thymus Gland. It is located between the collarbones in the centre of the chest. The thymus gland produces white blood cells, that combat disease, and bring equilibrium to the body. Other physiological places, the heart chakra is associated with is the thoracic cavity and it governs the heart, rib cage, blood (circulatory system), lungs and diaphragm, breasts, and esophagus.
When the heart chakra is unbalanced or blocked, it can manifest itself as upper back and shoulder problems, asthma, heart conditions, shallow or rapid breathing, and lung diseases.
Emotionally, imbalance in the heart chakra is indicated by difficulty with love, lack of hope, despair, moodiness, envy, fear, jealousy, anger, and anxiety. If one taps this place lightly with the knuckles a few times, it quietens nerves affected by excitement or stress and brings us back into balance again.
Yogasanas To Balance Anahata Chakra
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Camel Pose (Utrasana)
Visualization For Heart Chakra
-Visualize a flame within the center of your chest. This flame is called Van-linga in Yoga.
-Visualize that you can see the invisible and visible world at the same time.
-Watch the fire grow as your mind expands and your heart becomes strong. Know that this is one of the most important Chakras in your body because it is all about love and the joy of giving.
-Visualize that you love everyone, including those you think of with dislike and any enemies.
Meditation To Balance Anahata Chakra
Vaayu or Air Meditation
-Sit comfortably in your normal meditation posture.
-Make Vaayu (Air) Mudra by folding the index finger to the base of the thumb, and press the back of the middle phalange with the thumb. Keep the other three fingers straight.
-Straighten the back and relax your shoulders.
-Keep the head evenly balanced and tuck your chin slightly inwards and close your eyes.
-Visualize free flowing air – better still, sit outdoors or close to a window where you can feel the breeze on your skin.
-Let go of all hurt, negative emotions, shame, guilt, bitterness and offer them to the element Air
-Imagine the air blowing them away to the four corners of the world
Feel unburdened of the baggage and experience an ‘airy’ lightness
Visualize a dropping of all mental limitations and an unshackling of your spirit – let your spirit soar.
-Continue meditating for at least 20 minutes.