Thursday, 7 July 2011


Ajna chakra is the point of confluence where the three main nadis or forces- ida, pingala and sushumna merge into one stream of consciousness and flow up to sahasrara, the crown center.  When the mind is concentrated at this conjunction, transformation of individual consciousness is brought about by the merging of the three great forces. Individual consciousness is mainly comprised of ego, and it is on account of ego that we are aware of dualities. As long as there is duality there cannot be samadhi; as long as you remember yourself you cannot get out of yourself.

Although there are experiences of trance in the other chakras, there is no merger of the individual ego with the cosmic ego. All throughout you find you are trying to assert yourself behind all the experiences you are having, but when ida and pingala unite with sushumna in ajna chakra, you lose yourself completely. I do not mean that you become unconscious.

Your awareness expands and becomes homogeneous. The individual awareness falls flat and you completely transcend the realm of duality. Thus ajna chakra is a very important center, which you must experience in order to bring about purification of the mind. Once the mind is purified the experience and awakening of the other chakras can proceed.

There is a certain problem with the awakening of the other chakras. Each one contains a store of karmas or samskaras, both good and bad, positive and negative, painful and pleasant. The awakening of any chakra will bring to the surface an explosion or expression of these karmas, and not everybody is prepared or ready to face them. Only those who have reason and understanding can cope. Therefore it is said that before you start awakening and manifesting the great force it is best to purify the mind at the point of confluence. Then, with a purified mind, you can awaken all the other chakras. Therefore we begin our exposition of the chakras with ajna.

The center of command

The word ajna  comes from the Sanskrit root which means ‘to know, to obey or to follow’. Literally, ajna means ‘command’ or ‘the monitoring center’. In astrology ajna is the center of Jupiter, which symbolizes the guru or preceptor. Amongst the deities, Jupiter is represented by Brihaspati, the guru of the devas and preceptor of the gods. Therefore, this center is also known as ‘the guru chakra’.

Ajna is the bridge which links the guru with his disciples. It represents the level at which it is possible for direct mind to mind communication to take place between two people. It is in this chakra that communication with the external guru, the teacher or preceptor takes place. And it is here that the directions of the inner guru are heard in the deepest state of meditation, when all the sense modalities are withdrawn and one enters the state of shoonya or void.

This is a state of absolute nothingness, where the empirical experiences of name and form, subject and object do not penetrate. In this completely static state, the light of the mind is extinguished; the consciousness ceases to function, and no ego awareness remains. This void state is the same as the death experience, and in order to traverse it the voice or command of the guru must be heard in ajna chakra.

Of course if you are new to spiritual life you won’t be facing this problem yet, but when it comes you will find it very difficult to manage. At the moment your problems are just mental— dispersion of mind, worries, anxiety, restlessness, etc., but when the night is dark and you have gone very deep in meditation, losing your individual awareness, the only thing that can guide you at this point is the instructions or command of your guru heard through ajna chakra.

It has also been called ‘the eye of intuition’, and it is the doorway through which the individual enters the astral and psychic dimension of consciousness. Perhaps the most common name for this chakra is ‘the third eye’, and the mystical traditions of every age and culture make abundant references to it. It is portrayed as a psychic eye located midway between the two physical eyes and it looks inward instead of outward.

In India, ajna chakra is called divya chakchu (the divine eye), gyana chakshu or gyana netra (the eye of knowledge) because it is the channel through which the spiritual aspirant receives revelation and insight into the underlying nature of existence. 

It is interesting to note that ajna chakra is more active in females than it is in males. Women are more sensitive, psychic and perceptive and they are often able to predict coming events. However, in most people this inner eye remains closed, and though they see the events of the outside world, knowledge and understanding of truth cannot be gained. In this sense, we are blind to the real possibilities of the world, unable to view the deeper levels of human existence.

The location point
Ajna chakra is located in the brain directly behind the eyebrow center. It is at the very top of the spinal cord, at the medulla oblongata. Initially it is very hard to feel the exact location point of ajna, so we concentrate on ajna kshetram, at the mid-eyebrow center, bhrumadhya. These two centers are directly connected. That is why it has always been an Indian custom to place tilaka, chandan, sindur or kumkum on the mid-eyebrow center. Sindur contains mercury, and when it is applied to the eyebrow center a constant pressure is exerted on the nerve which runs from bhrurnadhya to the medulla oblongata. Maybe the original purpose for applying these substances has been forgotten by most people today, but it is not a religious mark or even a beauty spot. It is a means by which you can maintain constant conscious and unconscious awareness of ajna chakra.

It should also be mentioned here that the pineal gland is the physical concomitant of ajna chakra and the pituitary gland is of sahasrara. Just as the pituitary and pineal glands are intimately connected, so are ajna and sahasrara. We could say that ajna is the gateway to sahasrara chakra. If ajna is awakened and functioning properly, all the experiences happening in sahasrara can be managed well.

The pineal gland acts as a lock on the pituitary. As long as the pineal gland is healthy, the functions of the pituitary are controlled. However, in most of us, the pineal gland started to degenerate when we reached the age of eight, nine or ten. Then the pituitary began to function and to secrete various hormones which instigated our sexual consciousness, our sensuality and worldly personality. At this time we began to lose touch with our spiritual heritage. However, through various yogic techniques, such as trataka and shambhavi mudra, it is possible to regenerate or maintain the health of the pineal gland.

Ajna and the mind

So, ajna is essentially the chakra of the mind, representing a higher level of awareness. Whenever you concentrate on something, whether it is mooladhara, swadhisthana or manipura chakra, or you concentrate on an external object or an idea, ajna is affected, sometimes mildly, sometimes powerfully, depending on the degree of your concentration. When we visualize or when we dream at night, the inner vision that occurs is through ajna. If you are eating, sleeping or talking and you are not aware of it, then ajna is not operating. But if you are talking and one area of your awareness knows it, this knowing, this awareness is the faculty of ajna.

When you develop ajna, you can have knowledge without the aid of the senses. Normally, all knowledge comes to us by means of information the senses conduct to the brain, and a process of classification, logic, and intellect that takes place in the frontal brain. However, the smaller brain, where ajna chakra is situated, has the capacity to acquire knowledge directly without the aid of the indriyas or senses. Supposing it is a very cloudy day, you can know, through logic, that it will rain. But if there are no clouds in the sky and still you know beyond a doubt that it will rain, this means your intuition and perception are very acute and ajna chakra is functioning.

When ajna is awakened, fickleness of the individual mind disperses and the purified buddhi (subtle intelligence or higher perception) manifests. Attachment, which is the cause of ignorance and lack of discrimination drops away, and sankalpa shakti (willpower) becomes very strong. Mental resolves are almost immediately converted into fruits, provided they are in accordance with individual dharma.

Ajna is the witnessing center where one becomes the detached observer of all events, including those within the body and mind. Here the level of awareness is developed whereby one begins to ‘see’ the hidden essence underlying all visible appearances. When ajna is awakened, the meaning and significance of symbols flashes into one’s conscious perception and intuitive knowledge arises effortlessly and one becomes a ‘seer’

This is the center of extrasensory perception where various siddhis  manifest according to one’s samskaras or mental tendencies. For this reason, ajna chakra is said to resemble a knot directly on top of the spinal cord. According to tantra this knot is called rudra granthi, the knot of Shiva. This knot is symbolic of the aspirant’s attachment to the newly developed siddhis which accompany the awakening of ajna. The knot effectively blocks the spiritual evolution until attachment to psychic phenomena is overcome and the knot in consciousness is freed.

Understanding cause and effect

Up until ajna chakra awakens, we are under delusions, we view things incorrectly and we have many great misconceptions, about love and attachment, hatred and jealousy, tragedy and comedy , victory and defeat, and so many things. Our fears are unfounded, so are our jealousies and attachments, but still we have them. Our mind is functioning within a limited sphere and we cannot transcend it. Just as we dream at night and our dream experiences are relative, we are also dreaming in our waking state and our experiences are relative. In the same way at we wake from a dream, when ajna awakens, there is also a  process of waking up from this present dream we are living and we can fully understand the relationship between cause and effect

It is necessary for us to understand the law of cause and effect in relation to our lives, otherwise we are depressed and sorrowful about certain events in life. Supposing you give birth to a child and shortly after it dies. Why did it happen? If a child was meant to die straight afterbirth, why was it born at all ? You can only understand the reason if you understand the laws of cause and effect.

Cause and effect are not immediate events. Each and every action is both a cause and an effect. This life we have is an effect, but what was the cause? You have to discover it, then you can understand the relationship between cause and effect. It is only after awakening of ajna chakra that these laws can be known. Thereafter your whole philosophical attitude and approach to life changes. No events of life affect you adversely, and the various objects and experiences that come into your life and fade out of your life do not disturb you at all. You participate in all the affairs of life and you live fully, but as a detached witness. Life flows like a fast current and you surrender and move with it.

--- Kundalini Tantra, Swami Satyananda Saraswati

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